“It takes a village” was never a more accurate statement than when caring for elderly parents. Yet it’s necessary for that “village” to keep up successful, ongoing communication so that you can provide the very best care to ensure that everyone involved is on the same page. It is also important for family caregivers to have the chance to express concerns and to work together to get to resolutions, to share different perspectives, and to continue to be proactive in planning for the future.
Holding family meetings that yield good outcomes includes thinking through the following:
- Who should always be included – and who should not? Unquestionably, those providing direct or indirect care for the senior loved one should attend, in addition to any others with a vested concern for the senior’s health and wellbeing. However, also take into account that while each and every meeting should include the key members of the senior’s care team, there may be chances to include others as well, based upon the meeting’s agenda. And in case you worry that emotions may run high, it could be extremely useful to enlist assistance from an unbiased, trusted mediator.
- Must the older loved one attend? There’s no blanket answer to cover all circumstances, but think carefully about whether or not the discussion could cause the senior to feel guilty or uncomfortable, or whether he or she could have invaluable insight to share with you. Oftentimes, family members are able to open up and share more honestly when meetings take place without the senior loved one present.
- What is your agenda? Establish the precise issues to be reviewed, getting input from attendees, and then provide the agenda to everyone. Agree to discuss only the topics listed, and to shelve any other subjects (apart from emergencies) until the following meeting.
- Where will you meet? Technology provides an excellent venue for hosting meetings for family scattered by geographic location; nevertheless, for in-person meetings, it’s imperative you select a place that will be free from distractions, and which will be most comfortable for all. Often a neutral location, such as a library meeting room or local restaurant, works best.
- Have you established boundaries? Think through rules that everyone can agree on in advance of meeting, for instance abstaining from judging others, listening with an open mind, and promising a tone of respect all through the meeting. As the meeting progresses, take notes, and review the notes together at the end of the conversation to ensure everyone is in agreement on choices and commitments made.
The professional care team at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care is available to join and facilitate family meetings for our clients, and to offer answers to concerns raised about caring for elderly parents. Reach out to us at (269) 373-5444 any time for assistance and to learn more about how we provide the home care Kalamazoo, MI, families recommend most! You may also contact us at (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek.