When caring for a loved one, getting many family members involved can relieve stress and provide the best quality of care. Holding a monthly or bi-monthly meeting can keep each family member updated about financial matters and your loved one’s health condition. This article will help you organize family meetings.
- Discuss attendance. Each person who is involved in caregiving should attend the meeting. This could involve, adult relatives, friends, neighbors, and paid caregivers. Your loved one may not want to attend, depending on his or her health condition. Those with dementia might not understand what is going on at the meeting, or family members may not want to cause stress for their loved one.
- Choose a location. Choose a setting that is accessible to many people in the family. Keep in mind the accommodations that each party in attendance needs. For example, choose a place with wheelchair accessibility and an environment that is appropriate for children, if applicable.
- Decide on topics. The topics will differ per meeting, but there are some general areas that may be covered. For example, your loved one’s location may be up for discussion. Explore the possible options, such as if she should move in with another family member or go to an assisted living home. You should also discuss financial contributions, support for the primary caregivers, power of attorney, and anticipated changes as the illness progresses.
- Establish an agenda and stick to it. One person should be the meeting’s facilitator, who can keep everyone on topic. The facilitator should design an agenda ahead of time and send this to everyone who is in attendance. The agenda should outline each topic of discussion, in order, and a rough timeframe for each topic. With family, sometimes other issues that are not relevant to your loved one’s caregiving can be discussed. To avoid fighting and to stay on topic, the facilitator should steer the conversation back to the main points.
- Focus on the bigger picture. It is natural for family to disagree over details when deciding on a care plan. Try to avoid speaking about issues that do not involve your loved one. Additionally, create an atmosphere where people can freely share their concerns and wishes. Some people will be afraid of others not pulling their weight. It is not possible to completely divide the work evenly, so make sure that each person is comfortable with their duties. Those who cannot take off work can help financially, and those who are not comfortable with assisting with activities of daily living can cook or clean for your loved one. The overarching goal of this meeting is to provide the best care for your loved one, so keep your meeting centered around this goal.