Friday, March 28, 2008

Sibling and Long-Distance Caregiving Issues Examined

We wanted to share two items about sibling and long-distance caregiving. First, Carol O'Dell writes about the difficulty in coordinating caregiving between sibling on her Mothering Mother and More blog.
If you’re the primary caregiver, you may feel resentment toward your “free” sibling who works, goes to movies, take vacations.

If you’re the “other” sibling, you feel guilty. You don’t know where you fit in. You’re uncomfortable speaking up and voicing your opinion because after all, you’re not the one doing all the work–and you’re reminded of that often.

If you’re the third sibling, well, you might as well be in the outer Netherlands. That’s might be how it feels. All those childhood birth order issues get kicked right back up.

Second, an article from the Craig Daily Press (CO) discusses the experience of Rene Mattone, who lives far away from her parents, leaving the responsibility for daily caregiving to her six siblings. Her father is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and her mother has cancer.

In some respects, living far away is easier because Mattone doesn’t have to witness the changes in her parents — her father is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and her mother has cancer — yet the distance often leaves her feeling guilty and helpless.

“I feel like I’d like to be able to do more, like I’m a little bit of a disappointment because I can’t be there,” she said.

Living far away from an aging parent — especially one who is injured or sick — can be an emotional rollercoaster for an adult child, who must cope with worry, frustration and feelings of inadequacy. These feelings are compounded by the stress of caring for that person over hundreds or thousands of miles.