We often don’t associate sibling rivalry or dysfunctional families with aging. The fact is…. this is one of the issues that social workers, chaplains and nurses deal with daily in long term care settings. Sisters who disagree about where to place mom, sons and fathers who have very different ideas about the care decisions for their mother/wife whom they both love, the oldest brother who seldom visits his parents but flies into town and wants to direct and control the family members who are dealing with the issues of the parent on a daily basis….these are just a few of the “family problems” that are addressed every day, in every facility and private home across the nation.
About a year ago, I came across the book “They’re Your Parents, Too! How Siblings Can Survive Their Parents’ Aging Without Driving Each Other Crazy” (Random House, 2010). The author, Francine Russo, generously shared her own walk with an aging parent and unresolved sibling issues. This book resonated with me regarding my own family as well as the many families I have served over the years as a nurse. Nurses don’t receive very much training (if any at all) in dealing with these terribly difficult situations.
I was so moved by her compassion and empathy that I wanted to meet this author. I felt like I already knew her and I could just tell (without ever hearing her speak) that she would be a wonderful presenter, and she was. Francine joined us at a conference on aging hosted by the Elizabeth McGown Training Institute at Morningside Ministries. Her presentation was as good as her book. I am so grateful that we recorded the event and you can see it for free by going to mmLearn.org; or click here to go directly to the presentation.