Visits with loved ones over the holidays can provide caregiver family members an opportunity to address potential changes in the plan of care. One way to do this is to call a family meeting. These meetings task us with collaboration, communication and coordination. They help us to focus on the immediate care needs as well as short and long term care goals. They provide a structure for identifying and problem solving care needs. There is a focus on shared responsibility.
Here are some tips for holding a successful family meeting:
- It can be helpful to establish a mission statement such as: we are getting together to share ideas and identify resources to help mom/dad have the care they need and deserve as they continue to age.
Preparing for the meeting:
All family members should prepare a list of 3 or 4 concerns
Identify the family spokesperson or hire a moderator or Geriatric Care Manager if needed.
Limit participants to 5 or 6 family members if possible
Prepare a short agenda and stick to this
Collect and share background information
Holding the Meeting:
Stick to the agenda
Use “I” statements
Use a timer if needed
Be respectful of each member
Keep the mission in mind
Set the agenda for the next meeting
Keep in touch via emails or regular mail
Schedule a follow up
- Decide when to include the loved one in the process
Holding a family meeting may feel awkward in the beginning. Good communication and respect for each participant is essential.