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The 50-50 Rule: New Program Helps Siblings Overcome Family Conflict While Caring for Aging Parents

You may not have much in common with your siblings now that you're grown. But there's still one thing you share: your mom and dad. A new local program – the 50-50 RuleSM – offers strategies for overcoming sibling differences to help families provide the best care for elderly parents.

"Any family that has cared for a senior loved one knows that problems working with siblings can lead to family strife," said Scott Harrell, a local owner of Home Instead Senior Care that serves Leon, Gadsden, Jefferson and Wakulla Counties, plus the Panhandle. "Making decisions together, dividing the workload and teamwork are the keys to overcoming family conflict."

The 50-50 Rule refers to the average age (50) when siblings are caring for their parents as well as the need for brothers and sisters to share in the plans for care 50-50. Research conducted for the Home Instead Senior Care® network reveals that an inability to work together often leads to one sibling becoming responsible for the bulk of caregiving in 43 percent of families. And that can result in the deterioration of relationships with brothers and sisters.

"If you're 50, have siblings and are assisting with the care of seniors, it's time to develop a plan," Harrell said. "This program can help."

At the core of the 50-50 Rule public education program is a family relationship and communication guide of real-life situations that features practical advice from sibling relationships expert Dr. Ingrid Connidis from the University of Western Ontario.

"Like all relationships, siblings have a history," Connidis noted. "Whatever happened in the past influences what happens in the present. Regardless of their circumstances, most siblings do feel a responsibility to care for parents that is built from love. And that's a good place to start – optimistically and assuming the best."

For more information about this free guide and other resources call (850) 297-1897 or visit