The Financial Strain on Sibling Relationships When Parents Age



Caring for an elderly loved one can often be a more serious commitment than many families realize. It is not uncommon for the financial toll to place strain on the overall family dynamic. Adequate preparation, detailed planning and a better idea of what to expect can all help to ensure that you will not have to choose between caring for your parents or preserving your relationship with your siblings.

Retirement Savings and Financial Assets

Possessing an accurate assessment of the financial costs involved is absolutely essential for ensuring that effective plans and superior arrangements are made. Overvaluing retirement savings or overlooking assets and potential income that could be used to help offset the costs of care may lead to no end of problems. A detailed budget is a powerful tool that can allow families to divide costs or outline responsibilities more easily.

Staying at Home Versus Assisted Living

Living arrangements are often the biggest decision that needs to be made when caring for the elderly. While loved ones may be very resistant to the idea of having to leave their home, families who lack the time, skills and other resources to properly care for an elderly member may be left with no other choice.

There may be strained relationships where you may need some distance to keep your sanity. Many older parents want to retain some sense of autonomy and community with people their age, not feeling like they are imposing for having medical needs. Learning more about various home healthcare options, pricing adult community homes for sale or seeking out the right assisted-living facility can all be very important concerns.

Outline Family Responsibilities

Failing to clearly define the scope of duties, responsibilities and the financial commitment of each family member can be a recipe for disaster. Establishing boundaries can be essential for minimizing conflict within any relationship. Reaching an agreement regarding just what is to be expected from both yourself and your siblings is something that needs to be done as early as possible.

Dealing with the Unexpected

Caring for the elderly is a dynamic situation. An accidental fall or complications stemming from an illness can lead to medical costs or an increased level of care and commitment that far exceeds anything covered by your family’s original plans and arrangements. Staying flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances means that any future issues or concerns may be more easily addressed.

Creating a Plan of Care

While the financial strain of caring for the elderly is often considerable, providing your loved ones with the best quality of life can be just as important. Developing and implementing a plan of care that will balance financial concerns with the needs of your family is a hugely important undertaking. Possessing the right information and discussing options and potential solutions early and often can go a long way towards minimizing tension between siblings and other family members.

It’s important to remember that parents aren’t slices of pie you can equally divvy up. Each child has different strengths and weaknesses. Their relationships with the parents are also very different so they can’t help in the same manner. One sibling may be busy working but in a better financial spot. Their help may be less quality time and more of a financial payment towards assisted living. Another sibling may have a better relationship with the parents, but less money. They may offer more emotional support and more visits.

There are many different types of needs people have. Just because your siblings can help in a different way than you doesn’t mean they are doing less. Discuss your strengths and come up with a way you all help that makes you feel comfortable. It’s no contest, it’s about taking care of those who took care of you without feelings getting hurt along the way.


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