“It takes a village” was never a more accurate statement than when taking care of an older loved one. It’s important for that “village” to support family caregivers in providing care by keeping up effective, ongoing communication so that the very best care is provided and everyone involved in care is on the same page. It’s also important for family caregivers to have the chance to express concerns and to work together to come to resolutions, to talk about different perspectives, and also to remain proactive in preparing for the future.
Holding family meetings that produce positive outcomes includes thinking through the following:
- Who must be included – and who should not? Certainly, those providing direct or indirect care for the senior loved one should attend, including any other people with a vested concern for the senior’s health and wellness. However, also remember that while each meeting ought to include the critical members of the older adult’s care team, there may be opportunities to include others as well, based upon the meeting’s agenda. And in case you fear that emotions may run high, it can also be exceedingly beneficial to enlist assistance from an unbiased, trusted mediator.
- Must the senior loved one participate? There is no blanket answer to cover all circumstances, but think carefully about whether the conversation may cause a senior loved one to feel guilty or uncomfortable, or whether she or he could have valuable insight to share. Oftentimes, family members have the ability to open up and share more truthfully when meetings take place without the senior present.
- What’s your agenda? Figure out the exact issues to be talked about, getting feedback from attendees, and then share the agenda with everyone. Agree to adhere to the items listed, and to postpone any other matters (aside from emergencies) until the next meeting.
- Where should you meet? Technology provides a great venue for hosting meetings for family spread out by geographic location; however, for in-person meetings, it is crucial that you select a location that will be free from distractions, and that will be most comfortable for all. Often a neutral location, like a library meeting room or local restaurant, is most effective.
- Have you specified boundaries? Think about rules that everyone can agree on prior to a meeting, for instance refraining from judging each other, listening with an open mind, and ensuring a tone of respect all through the meeting. As the meeting progresses, take notes, and review the notes together at the conclusion of the conversation, making sure that everybody is in agreement on choices and commitments made.
Heaven at Home Senior Care, experts in at home senior care in Dallas and surrounding areas, is available to attend and facilitate family meetings for our clients, and to present answers to concerns raised. Contact us online or call (866) 381-0500 any time to learn more about our home care services!