Centenarian siblings in the Mediterranean island of Sardinia were recognized this week by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living siblings. Fame came from the discovery of nine elderly siblings who have a combined age of 818. One sibling, Claudina, 99, keeps fit by walking to and from church every day, another sibling Adolfo, 89, still works in a bar in the village. Find out why Sardinia and its siblings live to such a ripe very old age in this Christian Science Monitor article that put them in the world news.
According to the AARP a typical family caregiver in the U.S. is female, approximately 46 years old, has at least some college experience, and spends an average of 20 hours or more per week providing unpaid care to someone 50 or older. They are usually an adult child and and female sibling. In addition, this adult sibling/daughter usually works a paid job as well.
Gender bias in caregiving is a critical issue to cover in a midlife family meeting. Dividing up caregiving tasks so that they are gender equal and don’t fall hard on the female midlife siblings shoulders, is key to that female midlife sibling’s health and emotional balance. It is also key to maintaining a health happy midlife sibling team to care for elderly parents. Team members, like midlife sisters, need to feel they are being treated fairly by male/ brother siblings.
Find out why and how to reorganize your midlife sibling caregiving team so that your aging parent gets the care he or she needs and your sister sibling is not overwhelmed by caregiving.
Are you a step grandparent? Because of divorce, I am step grandma to more than half of my ten grandchildren. Six of my grandchildren have blood grandma’s- at least two each. I am the third grandmother but really never feel like the third wheel. I feel like all 10 are my grandchildren.
Right now I am in LA with 5 grandchildren, 2 blood twin siblings,my 14 month old grandsons, one step granddaughter ten, one step granddaughter fourteen and one blood granddaughter nineteen, plus a step daughter and step daughter in law. The boy siblings were not included as this is girl cousins weekend. The boy siblings step and blood siblings will have another event All the girls and Moms are going to Disneyland today with my blood daughter while I watch her twins. If this sounds complicated, it is. So is putting back together broken families
This has taken years building trust and love with my stepchildren with many setbacks. To the step grandchildren- it came easily. I love them as much as my 4 blood grandchildren.
It’s a confusing role with no script. As divorce a re-engineers American families, the chaotic remix mints more and more step grandparents. Two out of five American families now include a step grandparent.
You are coping with the crazy quilt of the modern family. It’ truly like the TV comedy Modern Family , a satire on the real experience, minus the step grandparents who should be added to the cast. You’ve got the that American family or the Brady bunch on steroids.
Think of this like blending families when your adult kids first married. You have the original blueprints. With the extended family, you have no blueprints and you have to build a metaphorical room for your stepchildren and step grandchildren and make sure your blood grandchildren’s room gets retrofitted.
Being a step grandparent is about love and action – not blood. So here are some tips
about putting that love into action.
1. Relationships grow over time. Don’t expect your step grandkids to love you instantly and the same with you.
2. Stepfamilies are born of loss- help step and blood grandchildren heal. Spread unconditional hugs and acceptance over every part of this new family.
3. Conflict is normal in stepfamilies- Use listening skills, don’t criticize, encourage talking openly, and back the parents’ rules and expectations.
4. Spend one to one time with each grandchild and step grandchild.
5. Focus on the needs of the children, not your wishes for the relationship.
6.Find out what you step grandkids like-and get it- what they do and do it with them.
7. Think equal- if you have six steps and four bloods like me- get equal gifts or give equal time.
7. Know your part in the play-you are the supporting cast, not the star of the show.
8. Stay in the moment- does not pry into the past.
9. Go to all special events – be that supportive cast.
10. Cheer for their accomplishments – don’t be a critic -be the support system.
11. Create join events and rituals – that’s what we are doing today and will repeat next year- it works.
If you have siblings with issues between them, look to yourself. Are you running on empty? Most young mothers I know don’t really nurture themselves. Between work, parenting and household chores, they never put themselves on their own to do list.
If you are a Mom or Dad of teenagers or young children and your kids are struggling with sibling rivalry, avoid a future sibling “I Hate You” story- 40 years from now by caring for yourself. Taking care of you as the caregiver is key to caring for others.
The catch phrase is to “balance work and family”. I am talking about balancing three things-work family and you –filling up your own self- before the other two plunge out of balance
Try joining-enrolling in activities that help you care of yourself will help your kids move through the shoals of sibling issues because you feel healthier. You might choose yoga, massage, journaling, meditation, a book club, or a gym membership. Mindfulness could be a practice you could investigate.
Keep a diary; just a few sentences a day to tell yourself what you did that day to care for yourself. Just taking a walk, getting your nails done or sitting alone for 15 minutes can count as self-care.
Don’t tell yourself you don’t have time. Caregivers of the elderly end up the hospital before the person they care for. That’s one caregiver taking care of one person. Mom’s care for multiple kids and at times sparing siblings.
Delegate household tasks to the whole family- give siblings chores like setting the table taking out the trash, starting basic meals. Forming a sibling team actually helps build healthy siblings relationships plus helps you – balance your needs and theirs.
Young children who have brother and sister problems, demand time and attention from the parental caregiver. Your first job is to care for them, but you cannot do that if you’re not emotionally strong and centered yourself.
Getting to that point means caring for the caregiver and using caregiver tools to make yourself the best mom, dad, step mom, or step dad you can be. You can help yourself overcome present and future sibling rivalry issues by making a list of activities to nurture yourself so you have all the energy and centeredness it takes to deal with sibling issues.
Being parent/ caregiver, who nurtures yourself, brings your nurturing skills with your young siblings, back into your life.
What is a geriatric care manager,what do they do for the aging family and midlife siblings- and exactly how do they do it?