Talking about the future – advice for parents of adult siblings
Thinking about the future and talking about it can be a really sensitive topic for both parents and siblings. How do you prepare for the future and what would a successful future look like for you all? It can feel overwhelming at times as there can be a lot to think about – health, finances, care, housing and more. As parents and siblings, we want our relatives to have a safe and happy life.
Here’s our advice for parents of adult siblings.
- Start small. It’s normal to want to delay planning for the future because there’s just too much to think about. Start small and take it a piece at a time. Be led by your adult children.
- Use a planning guide such as Thinking Ahead: A planning guide for families. It’s free to download and there’s a re-writable version for you and your familyt to make notes on together. What would you like for the future? What would your son or daughter like to happen and do they agree?
- It will take time. It’s normal for conversations between parents and siblings to take place over a period of time which will vary from family to family – it will take time and won’t all be resolved in one go.
- Get more information about wills, trusts and planning for the future at one of Mencap’s online seminars here
- Tell your adult children about Sibs. There are 1.7 million adult siblings of someone with a lifelong disability in the UK – they are not alone! We have a range of support for adult siblings at different points in their sibling journeys including support groups, guides, an ebook and events.
- Remember that you can consider a range of options for your disabled son or daughter’s future including the type of care, support and housing that they might want and which also might be suitable for them.
- There are lots of options for different types of sibling relationships. And there is no right or wrong. Siblings have no legal obligation to provide care for their disabled brother or sister when a parent dies – they don’t become ‘next of kin’ in the eyes of the law. Some siblings may help with care tasks, some prefer not to and there’s a whole spectrum of relationships between. It’s about what works best for both the sibling and their disabled brother or sister.
- Remember that you’re not alone. Reach out to other parents (on mencap’s forum, at your local carers centre, on Facebook groups) and share your thoughts and questions. What are their experiences of planning for the future? It can help to meet others who understand your perspective as a parent.