Working with Siblings

My sisters and I have undertaken the cleanup of my mom’s house.  Increasingly, it is clear that it is not a good environment for her.  Regardless of if Mom stays in a facility with a nursing staff or we move Mom into a condominium or an apartment, keeping her in a three bedroom, two and a half bath home is really just a disservice.

So, that means my sisters and I are working together, tag-teaming this cleanup.  We haven’t lived together in about twenty years, talk to each other on the telephone somewhat regularly, and see each other in-person between one to four times a year.  What could go wrong?  Let me throw in each of us holds a graduate degree, likes to call the shots, and none of us are afraid to blaze our own paths.

Well, we had our first hiccup.  It can be summarized best as differing visions about what the goal is and letting Mom make too many decisions.

A lot of good has been accomplished, no question.  However, looking back, there is something I wish I would have done better.  As the day-to-day primary caregiver, I should have taken the time to brief everyone who is helping on not only Mom’s physical condition/limitations, but also, been very clear about what would be helpful versus what would not be helpful.

If you don’t communicate clearly, you can’t expect others to read your mind.  And, everyone is going to react to a family member’s requests differently.

For folks who aren’t there on the day-to-day, it is completely foreseeable they may take for granted that someone is still capable of doing a physical task or making a decision, when, in fact, she isn’t.

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