February 5, 2020 by
“It takes a village” was never a more accurate statement than when caring for a senior family member. It’s essential for that “village” to maintain effective, ongoing communication so that you can provide the best care and ensure that everyone taking part in care is on the same page. It is also crucial for family caregivers to have the opportunity to express concerns and to come together to find resolutions, to talk about different perspectives, and also to remain proactive in preparing for the future.
Holding family meetings to discuss senior care that yields positive outcomes includes thinking through the following:
- Who should be included – and who should not? Unquestionably, those providing direct or indirect care for the senior should attend, along with any other individuals with a vested interest in the senior’s health and wellbeing. However, also take into account that while each meeting ought to include the crucial members of the older adult’s care team, there could be opportunities to include others as well, based upon the meeting’s agenda. And if you fear that emotions may run high, it could be exceedingly useful to enlist the assistance of an impartial, trusted mediator.
- Should the senior loved one attend? There’s no blanket answer to cover all situations, but be cautious if the discussion might cause the senior to feel guilty or uncomfortable, and consider whether he or she may have useful insight to share. Very often, members of the family have the ability to open up and share more truthfully when meetings take place without the older adult present.
- What is your agenda? Decide the actual concerns to be reviewed, getting feedback from attendees, and then provide the agenda to all. 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 an excellent venue for hosting meetings for family scattered by geographic location, but for in-person meetings, it’s crucial that you choose a location that will be free of distractions and that 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? Consider rules that nearly everyone can agree on before meeting, for instance abstaining from judging each other, listening with an open mind, and promising 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 ensure everyone is in agreement on choices and commitments made.
The professional care team at At Home Independent Living is available to attend and facilitate family meetings for our clients, and to provide solutions to concerns raised. Reach out to us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to learn more about home health care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding areas!