Sibling Birth Order May Define Role as Family Caregiver

February 16, 2011

64% of youngest siblings are primary caregivers!

Today’s family caregiver may be the youngest sibling.  Approximately 64 percent of a family’s youngest siblings are primary caregivers for their parents or other loved ones?

Additionally, research conducted by Home Instead Senior Care noted that 57 percent of oldest siblings were caregivers and 49 percent of middle siblings fulfilled the role of family caregiver.

Research conducted by Cornell University gerontologist Karl Pillemer, found that mothers aged 65-75 in the Boston area were perfectly willing to name their favorites among their children. Dr. Pillemer identified that mothers in his study tended to favor the child that she felt the strongest emotional connection with and the child that thinks the most similarly to the mother, sharing her attitudes and values. Additionally, Dr. Pillemer noted that mothers tend to favor a child that has provided help and support in the past.

But why the youngest child?

Sibling relationships expert Ingrid Connidis, Ph.D., University of Western Ontario, who collaborated with the Home Instead Senior Care network on the 50-50 Rule determined that the youngest caregiver preference may tie into geography.

Therefore, could it be as simple as the youngest child may live the closest and may have more knowledge about their parents’ preferences and lifestyles?

Please download The 50-50 RuleSM Brochure for more great information on sibling connections as they relate to family caregiving issues, topics and hot buttons.

If you have tips on interacting with you sibs during caregiving scenarios with your parents, please share with our readers!

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