3 Tips for Siblings to “Become a Village” when caring for your aging parents

Join handsAre YOU still struggling with your adult siblings, arguing over your aging parents’ care — at the time when you most need to pull together as a family?


Need help?   Start with these three tips:


1. Talk, ask, talk, listen, talk, plan. Talk to your parents and also talk to your siblings.  Listen to them with kindness and realize that you’re all part of one family and you’re in this life together.   Ask what is wanted and needed by your senior parents and then listen.  Ask what your siblings are able to help with and listen.  Talk with each other before a crisis occurs so you can make necessary plans at a time when everyone is calm.   Talk in a positive and specific way with your parents to solve whatever needs a solution.  Talk loudly enough so everyone can hear you.  Be willing to talk over and again if your parents don’t remember what you’ve already discussed.


Talk: about everything (including finances) even when that’s not been your family’s way
Ask: things you’ve never asked before, like: what’s on your parents’ bucket list?
Listen: you’ll need good information to make a good plan and you get it best by listening
Plan: this is the place to define how the solutions will actually work, so family members can understand, cooperate and coordinate their efforts

2. Gather information of all kinds and obtain needed documents.
As you talk, ask, listen, learn and plan with your parents and your siblings, gather the data you will need about what life is really like for them in 2015.  Since you may now live far away or have drifted apart over the years, you may think you know your family members and/or their “business” better than you do, so ask and listen.  Be courageous in pursuing whatever information is needed to make a plan for the your family’s present and predictable future.

Make sure your parents’ desires will be carried out by getting legal advice and putting their wishes into enforceable documents.  You can even “attend” your parents’ meetings with their attorney and doctors long distance via tech tools like Skype and FaceTime.  In today’s world, our family can easily share documents, make suggestions and accomplish much with tools like the Dropbox file-sharing service; even living across country, your family can literally be on the same page.

3. Learn to get along, accommodate people’s abilities and limitations and aim to become a joyous family unit again.
Often one or another sibling, especially if they live close, becomes the primary caregiver to their parents. An unequal distribution of tasks can cause knotty problems between siblings, as can many “unspoken about” issues. In some families, unresolved pains from childhood may re-emerge and intrude upon the cooperation (sometimes called “it takes a village”) that adult children need to foster family unity and fun rather than struggle and all the “work” of ParentingOurParents.

Realizing you have a family and you’re not alone can be a life-saver during this challenging time of life — and, if you’re lucky, you and your siblings will discover the enormous strength in your particular family that will get you beyond the toughest times to become an even more unified family.


Although these 3 tips offer important advice, many families are really at a loss as to how to become that “village.”   They can only imagine as a dream that this time in life could result in joyousness, healing and the feeling of “coming home.”  If your family would benefit from some “hands-on” help or you want to know more about creating a Journey of Love for your own family, we highly recommend you a session with one of our Certified POP Family Coaches and reading the testimonials of how families “turned around” with our focused coaching program.


We’d like to hear your stories, especially of success, with your siblings!


  1. john vondra says

    Thanks very helpful

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.