May 19, 2024
asking for help with aging parents


Please note that some of this site’s links are affiliate links, and is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. At NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I will earn a small commission, if you purchase them. Please note that these are products I know/use and recommend to my customers. I recommend them as they are good products.

What comes to mind when you think, “I need help with Mom and Dad.”?

Let's talk about asking for help when we are caring for our aging parents.

Well, think about it. You’re the son or daughter who is now realizing that you need help with your parents. 

So far so good but now you're finding that you don't have time for yourself, your own family, your work, or your friends. and you are beginning to miss the lifestyle you once knew.

What's up with that?

Yet here we are stuck because we don't know how to ask for help and we're afraid that if we do our siblings will start to question our abilities to care for Mom and Dad.

Adult children typically desire to maintain family harmony and foster positive relationships with their siblings during this challenging time so they come together for a common goal. 

Caring for aging parents can be a bonding experience for siblings, providing opportunities for them to come together, support one another, and strengthen their relationships.

But this isn’t always the case, is it?

One of the most significant challenges adult children may face when asking their siblings for help is the unequal distribution of caregiving responsibilities.

Siblings may have differing opinions or approaches to caregiving, leading to disagreements or conflicts about the best course of action for their aging parents. And then the spouses of adult children want to add their input so the conversations become even more muddied. 

Siblings who live far apart from one another face additional challenges in coordinating care for their aging parents so they assume the child who lives closest can do all the work. This leads to resentment. 

And sometimes, as adult children, we feel guilty when asking our siblings for help in caring for our aging parents. They have a lot going on and their spouses are not happy with us for asking. 

We’ve all felt this at one time or another. 

It’s not easy asking for help.

For example, let’s say I want to ask my brother for help with my mom. 

Here are some thoughts that I might have…

  • Since I’m the daughter, shouldn’t it fall on me to do the work?  Should I feel guilty asking him or his wife?
  • If I ask my brother for help, will he think less of me?
  • Will he question WHY I am asking for help?  Am I not able to do it properly?  Or in his case, perfectly?
  • I may also fear that my brother won’t follow through on his commitments. I know him well enough to know that what he says and what he does are two different things. 
  • Or, maybe my mom adores my brother and I can do nothing right. Now I’ve got a new conflict because she starts to compare me to my wonderful brother who really doesn’t do anything to help but she sees him as the biggest helper. Oh, brother!!
  • Maybe my brother is the kind of person who wants to take over all control. After all, he is narcissistic and believes in his way or the highway and then he starts gaslighting me and telling me everything I’ doing wrong. Do I really want him around?
  • Maybe we have some past issues.  Geez. Let’s not even get into those!

Does any of this sound familiar? After all, we can’t pick our families, can we?

So how do we get past this and ask for the help we really need?

First, we can be empathetic. I can show my brother some appreciation for how hard he works and how many directions he is pulled in. Maybe my sister-in-law is a hard person to live with but he puts up with her and worries about the kids. I don’t really know what goes on in their home so how can I not feel some empathy here? 

Second, I can offer my brother some flexibility. We can share responsibilities. He is really good at finances so maybe I could turn them over to him but keep some out in case he gets greedy.  Maybe he could look at all the legal paperwork and take that over. Or is he really knowledgeable about medical care or just talking through a crisis?  I could use him there. 

I need to find the things he’s good at and not ask him to do the things he does not enjoy. For example, I know he doesn’t like calling mom because she talks forever, so instead he tells me when he’s going to call her.  I agree to call him 15 minutes after that and he cuts Mom off and tells her he has to take my call or he texts her and I teach her how to text back. 

Third, I do not use blame as a way to motivate him. For example, I use the words “I” or “I feel…” instead of saying, “You did this” or “YOU didn’t do that…” So we maintain positive communication. 

Does this really work?

It does and it takes practice. We go from feeling dreadful when working with siblings to feeling a positive experience. 

  • I know that by working with my sister and brother, my mom got incredible care. 
  • We distributed the workload using our skills.
  • We pooled our resources and it was amazing what they knew and I didn’t!
  • We built mutual respect for one another and it actually made us closer because we understood what each of us were going through in our own homes. 
  • We learned to work through our own conflicting decisions. We kept the focus on mom, not us and we did what was best for her. 
  • So, yes this was a really cool process and as I look back, I am truly grateful to my sister and brother for the love they gave mom and the help they gave me. They are truly amazing people.  What hit me one day that truly blessed me was the fact that I no longer judged them but appreciated them!

Like this?  You can read more when I open up the Senior Freedom Club membership again. It’s FREE to sign up and you are not under any obligation. I'll just let you know when I open back up. I’ve got a checklist on this very topic and simple steps you can take to get your siblings to help you.  I think you’ll want to see it. 

The Senior Freedom Club™

(Join the waitlist)

The most comprehensive membership, for validating, planning, and implementing your healthy, organized, and balanced life. The Senior Freedom Club™ not only shows seniors exactly how to age like a Super Ager, but how to help family caregivers enjoy a healthy and balanced stress-free life while caring for their seniors. 

  •  Nail down your health journey
  • Engage your confidence to make this look easy
  • Develop schedules that work for you
  • Expertly steer senior legal, financial, and health issues like a pro
  • Leverage your time with these family strategies
  • Drum up energy and focus when you want it
  • Build peace within your own families
  • About the Author

    Hi, I'm Suzanne. My passion is creating working knowledge to well-informed, well-prepared seniors and their families so they may enjoy the later years with health, wealth, and happiness, I've helped over 10,000 patients, seniors and their famlies like yourselves do just that through my courses, eBooks, the Senior Freedom Club™, and in my physician assistant medical practice.


    This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that has been read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution. Nor does this material constitute a provider-patient relationship between the reader and the author.