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Practical Insights for Busy Caregivers

3 steps to managing caregiving tensions within a stepfamily


December 17, 2018, by

In a recent article posted by AARP, Barry Jacobs describes how relationships between step-relatives can weaken and buckle under the stress of caregiving. He cites a study published in the September 2013 Journal of Marriage and Family which revealed that second wives generally receive little help from their adult stepchildren when it comes to nitty-gritty caregiving tasks.
“At the same time, however, the children freely offered unsolicited advice — and unwanted criticism — about the wives' efforts. They also vied with their stepmothers for the power to make medical and financial decisions for their fathers. Hurt by their stepchildren's behavior, the wives were more likely to feel burdened — and to become depressed.”
Jacobs goes on to offer suggestions on how blended families can sideline divisive issues and foster greater cooperation.
Readers should keep in mind that rules regarding powers of attorney (i.e. who can make decisions about finances and personal care on someone else’s behalf) differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For more information about how this works in Ontario, here’s a useful article: