Family Matters

Caregiving is a family matter

Whether there are a dozen family members in the family unit or you are the sole offspring, there are many reasons why family members don’t help with caregiving- it always seems to fall on the shoulders of one sibling.

Sometimes people don’t know where to start or what they could do. Others might feel like you don’t want or need any help. And some people just don’t realize how much time, energy, and sacrifice caregiving really takes.

Here are a few suggestion to get family help with caregiving.

Keeping your cool makes these conversations more productive and helps you get the caregiving help you need to get some well-deserved time for yourself. Choose one family member to start with and plan a one-on-one conversation with them.

Be clear in your request and how they can best be helpful.

  • Tell them that you need more help with caring for your older adult.
  • Find out if there’s anything they’d like to help with or suggest tasks that fit their skills and interests.
  • Tell them what would be most helpful for your older adult.
  • Let them know what would be most helpful to you.
  • Don’t assume that anyone can read your mind or will be able to pick up on hints or signals. If you need help with certain tasks, specifically ask for them.
  • If you’d like to take every other Saturday off from visiting Mom and have them take over on those days, bring it up for discussion.


Share important information about appointments

  • share important information and instructions
  • When someone doesn’t know much about what’s going on, they can feel excluded or assume that nothing is going on. Not having any information means that they won’t be able to understand the situation, which makes it less likely that they’ll help.Keep a list of important tasks

    In caregiving, there are so many errands and tasks that need to be done for your older adult. Keep a list of all these To Do items so you’re ready to share the work whenever someone is available to help.  Keep requests simple and be clear.

    • Pick up prescription refills
    • Pay bills
    • Shop for groceries
    • Cook and prep meals
    • Do laundry
    • Clean the house
    • Schedule and organize social events such as lunch, family visits, special occasions.

Finally, be gracious and thank them for alleviating what can often be stressful and let them know how much their assistance has made a difference in the lives of everyone in the family.