May 6, 2021
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Navigating the Aging Journey

By: Julie Ann Soukoulis
July 31, 2020

Overdue bills, spoiled food, stuff piling up all over the house, your brother said what? 

You and your brother have just discovered a pile of overdue bills, spoiled food in the refrigerator and magazines stacked ceiling high at your parents’ house. Your brother loses his cool and practically demands that they move to a nursing home. Your parents are visibly upset.

You want the continued help and support of your brother. What do you do? Approach your parents and brother with a sense of working together to find a solution rather than telling them what to do. Is the problem that your parents don’t have the money? Or are they just unable to manage the bill-paying anymore? Speak to your parents about the issues that are relevant to avoid family conflict.

After assessing the situation with your brother, you suggest a  reasonable course of action. Be sure to ask his opinion as well. One solution is to set your parents up on automatic bill-paying through their bank or take over payment of their bills. If you and your brother disagree, try to find a compromise. Offer the help you deem appropriate to your parents.

A united front is the ideal course of action, unless you and your brother feel it would be best if you spoke to mom and dad on your own. Both you and your parents will benefit by keeping your brother engaged in the process in a positive way.

Do what you can to maintain a relationship with your brother. Siblings are sometimes the only family relationships that endure. Friendships from our early lives often don’t last. So there is a depth of empathy we can tap into that goes back to that relationship. That sibling relationship will continue after your parents are gone. Research suggests that siblings don’t want to harm their relationships with each other.

Parents can feel like they are giving up their independence and privacy if they discuss that information. In terms of harmony among siblings, it’s better if everyone has the same information. You could discuss an agreement where you will help your parents out financially now, on the understanding that they will pay you back through your inheritance. If they agree, you could share your agreement with your siblings so that they know in advance. They could be invited to be part of the agreement as well. Seek the advice of a professional like an attorney or financial advisor.  

If your aging loved ones have not  had a conversation about their plans to age, then this is the time for  the discussion now. Not sure how to broach the topic? Reach out to my team at Home Instead  and we are happy to mail you a booklet on this topic. You can also reach out to our care partners at  Legacy Concierge Service as they offer a free 30 minute consult to see where they may be able to direct you if they aren’t a fit themselves. Don’t let crisis move you to have such conversations under distress and tear away at the relations between you and  your siblings .You are not alone- we are here to help!  


Julie Ann Soukoulis is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park, mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her own two parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website,  to educate and encourage seniors & caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern?  She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.