A parent’s declining health can either draw a family together or break it apart. Siblings may fail to take equal responsibility for caregiving and financial needs, often falling into the roles they held as children.
Although Anne Ziff is an only child, she’s counseled countless siblings. Ziff is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and the author of Your End of Life Matters: How to Talk with Family and Friends.
Ultimately, sibling tensions erupt as parents need care because, “everyone wants to be the favorite child, but most of them don’t want to spend a lot of time doing things outside of their normal life,” Ziff says. “Or, to be more reasonable, they don’t have time. Or there is distance involved that precludes cooking three meals a week and dropping them off. Kids have to be able to talk.”
Easier said than done, right?