Family meetings can be a touchy topic for caregivers. In the past, you might have tried to have a family meeting to keep everyone on the same page but found that it didn’t go as well as you would have liked. These suggestions might be helpful.
Use a Timer of Some Sort
One reason that family meetings tend to go wrong is that they get sidetracked and some family members might try to monopolize the precious time you have available. With a timer you’re better able to control the dynamics of the conversation. Give everyone a set time frame in which to speak, and then stick to the timer.
Set a Specific End Time
Also, since you’re getting everyone in one place, it’s a good idea to set a specific end time to the meeting in addition to the start time. Avoid making the meeting too long, because that’s going to cause people to lose concentration and they may not get your full message. Keep an eye on the time, or better yet, set an alarm for the end time so you can focus on what you need to say.
Provide Note-taking Materials
Not everyone is going to show up to the family meeting prepared. If you’ve got some small notepads and something to write with, that might encourage them to take notes. This can be important from the standpoint that you want your other family members to listen and to understand what you’re sharing. They may even come away from the meeting with solid ideas about what they can do to make your life and your senior’s much easier.
Make an Agenda and Follow It
If you struggle with knowing what to talk about or how to stay on target with your meeting, make an agenda. This sounds a lot more formal than it is. Agendas are as simple as a bullet-point list of the topics you need and want to cover. Some topics might be up for family discussion, like who can help with lawn care for your senior. Others, like when you hire senior care providers to take respite time, may be ones that you don’t want to open up to the entire family.
Dive Right In
Don’t worry about knowing exactly what to say or opening up the meeting in the right way. Your family members are there to get an idea of what you’re trying to impart to them. None of this has to be perfect and even though these are family members, this isn’t a social occasion. Try to keep everyone on target and be mindful of the time.
Family meetings might be when some members of the family finally understand what’s going on with your senior. Even if you’ve tried them before, one more time with a structure like this can help.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Mercerville, NJ, please call the caring staff at Care Street Home Care. You can reach our Mercer/Burlington Division at (609) 496-5666.
Dr. Shelly, as he is fondly known, has served as an Alzheimer’s Support Group Facilitator in Mercer County and is a Certified Dementia Instructor. Knowledgeable, compassionate, and unusually devoted, his guidance is crucial in helping families understand their options and render decisions for their loved ones’ care plan. Dr. Shelly’s extensive experience, sincere and pleasant demeanor, and professional affiliations have made him a vital asset to Care Street.