Handling Sibling Criticism During the Holidays

Carol Bradley Bursack, AgingCare.com

You’ve put your life on hold.  You’ve given until it hurts.  You’re doing everything you can to help your aging parents live a quality life.  And, for the most part, you are succeeding.

Until the holidays, that is.  That’s when your siblings will come to see the parents they haven’t seen all year.  They’ll come with their advice about how you could better manage your time and do more for Mom.  They’ll come with their advice on how you could better control Dad’s medications.  They’ll come with their veiled (or not so veiled) criticism about how you are managing your elder’s assets, even though your parents are still calling the shots on most financial issues.

It’s enough to make a saint swear.  Where were they when you had to figure out someone to stay with your sick child so you could take Dad to the emergency room?  Where were they when Mom blithely signed up and paid a full year in advance (because it was cheaper than monthly) for a gym/spa combination that neither she nor Dad could possibly use?  Where were they when your husband needed surgery and help recovering, but Dad still needed weekly trips to the clinic to have his blood tested because of his medications?

It seems they were really busy with work.  They have so many responsibilities, you know.  And Junior is playing varsity football and they really need to be there to root him on.  Oh, your Jane is first chair clarinet in band?  How nice.  Well, missing a band concert now and then isn’t so bad.  It’s not like you cheer or anything.

So it goes when it comes to siblings and elder care…

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