Holding a Family Meeting to Discuss Senior Care Issues

Communication is the first step on the road to senior care. Countless issues accumulate stress and develop difficulties due to lack of communication within a family. Whether it’s family members not making good care decisions or other members simply not contributing to care, issues will arise.  A wise first step is to hold a family meeting to discuss senior care issues.

   

Tips on Holding a Family Meeting to Discuss Senior Care Issues

   
  • Generally, it’s easiest for one family member to start the conversation about a family meeting with one other member.
    • Two or three siblings can come together and create a plan to initiate a family meeting.
    • The more individuals initially on board, the easier it will be to convince the less willing family members.
    • This step is done within the close family.
   
  • After the initial step of initiation, the first decision will be who to invite.
    • Often, it’s simply the family unit: mom, dad, adult kids. This doesn’t include extended family or kid’s spouses.
    • Other times, extended family are helpful or necessary in these types of conversation.
    • This decision also will involve whether or not the senior needing care will be included. It seems like the obvious answer is yes or else they will feel as if the whole family had been talking behind their back. But if the issues involve mental disorders or dementia it may be better and less confusion for them to hear after the fact.
    • A neutral third party is sometimes helpful in offering advice or overseeing the conversation. It’s best if this person is a trusted counselor or pastor who has some experience with navigating these conversations.
   
  • The next step is creating an itinerary for the meeting.
    • This is done prior to the actual meeting and will lay out the all talking points so every issue can be discussed.
    • It’s easiest if one member (or third party) takes charge and initiates a plan. Then all other family members will contribute their suggestions and issues.
    • Some issues are clear and only one or two members need to be convinced. Other issues will be more in the vein of a gentle confrontation.
    • For example, talking points should include the medical history of the loved one, the ideal schedule of the loved one, and the actual daily schedule of the loved one. Also, the delegation of responsibilities and changes that need to take place in family care dynamic. Discussion of finances and end of life care is also an important part of family care planning. Professional caregiver services should also be considered if the load is just too much for the family to bear on their own.
   
  • The next step is to gather all those on board to a convenient location.
    • This may be tricky as families spread out across the globe, so planning is essential.
    • Visits, family gatherings, vacations should all be considered to find the one time most family members are in one location.
    • Decide on a set location, whether it’s a home, an office, a designated meeting room.
    • Make the meeting as pleasant as possible with refreshments and comfortable chairs.
   
  • At the end of the meeting, not everything will be resolved.
    • Everything should be talked about and options should be on the table.
    • It’s important to have a written document of each family member’s agreed upon responsibilities with dates or ‘deadlines’ of sort. This will hold each member accountable for his or her care tasks.
    • The most important issues should have a a concrete plan, other issues should have a general plan.
    The goal is to hold one family meeting to discuss care issues every year or so. This way plans can be re-evaluated and updated. But that’s not always possible. Holding just one meeting will clear paths of communication, making it easier to discuss these issues over the phone. Family meetings will also relieve much of the emotional stress of seeing a loved one decrease in independence. Family members who wouldn’t usually share their feelings may open up more and talk through their fears and stressers.

For more information on senior care contact 1776 Senior Care in Glen Ellyn.

By | 2017-07-19T21:24:02+00:00 July 19th, 2017|Categories: Caregiver|Tags: , |