Posted on: February 5, 2020
“It takes a village” was never a truer statement than when caring for elderly parents. And it’s necessary for that “village” to keep up successful, ongoing communication to be able to provide the very best care to make certain that everyone involved with care is on the same page. It is also important for family caregivers to have the opportunity to express concerns and to come together to find resolutions, to talk about various perspectives, and to remain proactive in preparing for the future.
Holding family meetings that produce positive outcomes includes thinking through the following:
- Who should always be included – and who should not? Unquestionably, those providing direct or indirect care for the older adult should attend, in addition to any other individuals with a vested interest in the older adult’s health and wellbeing. Nonetheless, also take into account that while each and every meeting should include the key members of the senior’s care team, there could possibly be opportunities to include others as well, depending on the meeting’s agenda. And if you worry that emotions may run high, it could be extremely useful to enlist the assistance of an unbiased, trusted mediator.
- Must the senior loved one attend? There is no blanket answer to cover all situations, but be cautious about whether the discussion could potentially cause the senior to feel guilty or uncomfortable, or whether he or she may have valuable insight to share with you. Very often, family members are able to open up and share more truthfully when meetings take place without the senior present.
- What’s your agenda? Figure out the precise challenges to be discussed, getting input from attendees, and then provide the agenda to everyone. Agree to adhere to those items listed, and to shelve any other matters (apart from emergencies) until the following meeting.
- Where will you meet? Technology provides an excellent venue for hosting meetings for family spread out by geographic location; however, for in-person meetings, it’s imperative to choose a location which is free from distractions, and that will be most comfortable for everyone. Often a neutral location, like a library meeting room or local restaurant, is ideal.
- Have you specified boundaries? Think about rules that everyone can agree on before meeting, for instance refraining from judging others, listening with an open mind, and ensuring a tone of respect throughout the meeting. As the meeting progresses, take notes, and review the notes together at the end of the conversation to make certain that everyone is in agreement on choices and commitments made.
The knowledgeable elder care advisors at Alivity Care Advocates are available to join and facilitate family meetings for our clients, and also to provide answers to concerns raised. Reach out to us at (248) 375-9125 any time for assistance!