Enlisting Holiday Help from Siblings

Based on my personal experience, and from what I see at my dad’s ALF, there is usually one adult child designated as the caregiver.

I’ve read countless stories that give advice on how the primary caregiver should elicit help from her/his siblings.  I understand in theory why this is a good thing.  One person shouldn’t carry the brunt of responsibility, if they can share the workload with siblings.  But the honest truth is, there are a million reasons why this concept doesn’t work: some siblings don’t have the skills, some don’t have the desire to help, some don’t live close enough, some need help themselves, and the list goes on and on.

But, the holidays offer a chance for siblings to help in a way that hopefully works for everyone.  Find something that your siblings like doing and that you feel comfortable delegating.  And, the hardest part of all, ask for help.

In my case, my sister Janice loves everything about the holidays…decorating, shopping, baking, hosting parties, cards, etc.  So this year she’s going to decorate my dad’s room, buy his gifts, and join him at some holiday activities.  She’s happy and I’m thrilled!

1 Comment

  1. As an in-law caregiver, I was never particularly tolerant of my husband’s siblings’ excuses. So although the concept of “shared responsibility” may not have worked smoothly, non-cooperation was just not acceptable. Here is how we “enlisted” holiday help:
    My husband I were caregivers for his mother for 7 years, 4 of them in our home with me as primary caregiver. We had major crises to deal with over the Christmas holiday 3 different years. My sisters-in-law were spending their holidays skiing out West. The last Christmas my mother-in-law was alive, my husband called his sister about taking Mom for the holiday. He was prepared for her response: “I cannot take her. We will have my grandson and 3 dogs in the house.” My husband replied, “We will have 7 grandchildren and 1 dog at ours. This is not negotiable.”


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