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A family caregiving meeting is an essential tool when dealing with the care of an aging loved one. These meetings are beneficial for helping to keep all family members abreast of decisions that need to be made along with changes in diagnosis or prognosis. They also help to ensure that all family members feel that they have a voice. Family meetings can help to keep caregiving responsibilities from falling solely on the shoulders of one family member. In addition, family caregiving meetings can foster cooperation among family members and lessen the stress associated with caring for an aging loved one.
Who should attend a family caregiving meeting?
There are a number of people who should be included in a family caregiving meeting. First and foremost, it is important to include the aging loved one in the meeting whenever possible. This helps the aging loved one to feel that they are being heard and that their opinions and thoughts are being considered. If a spouse is living, the spouse should be included, as well as any children and possibly siblings of the aging person. Anyone else involved in care for the person should also be there. This could include paid caregivers, family friends, or neighbors. Depending on family dynamics, a facilitator can be helpful in running the meeting.
When should a family have a caregiving meeting?
First it is important to note that family caregiving meetings are not a one-time event. They must occur on a regular basis. The first family meeting can occur before an aging loved one actually needs care. This can give the person who may eventually need care more say in their future. Most families will plan to meet when an aging loved one begins to show signs of needing care or when a diagnosis is given that determines care will soon be needed. In addition, meetings should be scheduled regularly to discuss changes in diagnosis, prognosis, or the general needs of the loved one or the caregivers.
How can a family hold a successful caregiving meeting?
The key to having a successful caregiving meeting is cooperation. This doesn’t mean that family members will agree on everything, but it is important that all family members are respectfully heard and considered. Families must be willing to compromise and seek the best plan for their aging loved one. Additionally, a smoothly run meeting should have an agenda and families should try to stay focused on the items included on the agenda. When holding a meeting, always put things in writing and be sure that all those involved get a copy of the important information and everyone’s responsibilities.
What challenges do families face in caregiving meetings?
One of the biggest challenges to family caregiving meetings is the family’s history. All families have their own dynamics that can cause problems in a caregiving meeting. There may be members of the family who are at odds with one another. This can become an obstacle to having a successful caregiving meeting. The role that each family member plays can be a challenge. Some members may be overbearing and demand control, while others are peacemakers and do not feel free to share their thoughts. Another challenge is that some family members may be in denial of the severity of an aging loved one’s needs. This may make it difficult to get a consensus for care.
What are the benefits of a family care meeting?
Family caregiving meetings are beneficial and necessary when an aging loved one can no longer care for themselves. These meetings can help to divide the responsibilities of caregiving and reduce stress placed on the family members. It is important that families remember that the meetings are for the care of their loved one and that they should focus on cooperating with one another to help the process to run more smoothly and successfully.
Contact our office at (207) 967-0399 for more information on planning for the future and long-term care of your loved one.