Being a caregiver for a family member entails much more than the actual coordination of care. Many times, it’s a family affair. As such, family members need to work cooperatively. In order to include family members in the caregiving, a family meeting is a great way to facilitate the process. This can be a simple or complicated process dependent upon many factors.
Regardless of your family dynamics, there is a step by step process to navigate a family meeting that can be customized to your unique circumstances:
- Determine who should attend. Typically, the primary caregiver will make this decision, including whether the elderly family member should be in attendance.
- Once the list for attendees is finalized, decide on how to communicate the invitation and plan for those who live out of town. Use of technology makes things much easier these days.
- Prior to the meeting, prepare the agenda and send out to attendees so they have input. Agenda topics could include:
- Updated physician reports
- Daily caregiving needs
- Financial concerns
- Determining roles for each family member
- Determining the support needed for the primary caregiver
- Create a to-do list and next steps.
- The actual meeting needs to also have ground rules established before the discussion kicks off so that everyone feels heard and respected. It’s important that someone is assigned as the facilitator to keep the agenda on track and to mediate conversation should things get heated.
- The meeting should strive for consensus, compromise and possibly a written agreement at the end of the meeting to formalize decisions made.
These steps are a guide to open the conversation about caring for a loved one, but it’s not always going to be the solution. Determining when the family needs outside help is crucial. When families have trouble working together or are at odds about a major decision, it often helps to include a neutral party to assist in coming to an agreement.
Don’t forget that you can also get additional support from your friends, colleagues, and support groups.
You don’t have to do it alone.
About the Author
Adrienne Criste serves as a Behavioral Wealth Specialist for JOYN. With over 15 years of clinical and professional experience in social work, Criste collaborates with Behavioral Wealth Advisors to implement Behavioral Wealth Management with clients.
Read more about Adrienne here.