Running a family caregiver meeting is a lot like running a business meeting, except for one thing that has to be dealt with – family dynamics. These dynamics, built over years of interactions, require you to lead the meeting with a firm hand but with a soft touch. Here are seven tips on how to run a family caregiving meeting effectively.
Meet in person if possible
If everyone lives in reasonably close proximity to each other, conduct the meeting in person if you can. However, if you have people living at a distance, use technology like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts to have the meeting.
Have every member of the caregiving team attend
Due to distance and time constraints, family members will have different levels of involvement in day-to-day care. However, regardless of their level of involvement, be sure everyone who administers care to your loved one is present, including paid caregivers.
Have an agenda
Like a meeting at work, family caregiver meetings are more successful when an agenda is involved. It keeps the meetings flowing and shows respect for everyone’s time.
If possible, get the agenda out via email to everyone who will be attending the meeting 48 hours in advance. This gives them time to think about any decisions that will have to be made and not feel surprised by anything that comes up during the meeting.
Keep your loved one’s wants, needs, and goals at the forefront of the discussion
Because of family dynamics and individual personalities, egos can sometimes get in the way of your meeting. As a result, people can lose sight of the meeting’s purpose: ensuring your loved one’s needs are met in the fashion they prefer. State this clearly at the beginning of the meeting and use it to get people back on track if they stray from the goal of the meeting.
Welcome all feelings
Just like there’s no such thing as a dumb question, all feelings are valid. You or others may not agree with what someone is saying or feeling, but those feelings still need to be acknowledged and respected.
If you have family members who are shy about sharing their feelings and are quieter, gently bring them into the conversation by asking them open-ended questions, such as, “Mary, what are your thoughts on this?” or “Bill, how do you feel about that?”
Send out a written summary of the meeting when it’s over
As the leader of the meeting, you should send an email containing what was discussed and any decisions made. This email should be sent within 24 hours of the meeting’s conclusion.
Seek outside help, if necessary
If you’ve been unable to reach a consensus on an important decision, consider using an elder mediator, social worker, therapist, or clergy member to help the group find common ground. If you’re unsure how to find outside help, check in with your local caregiver organizations.
Home Instead is Here to Help
If you decide that professional caregiver assistance is needed and your loved one lives in Southwest Florida, Home Instead is standing by to provide compassionate care.
Contact us today and put us to work for your senior loved one and your family. We provide first-class home care in Naples, Fort Myers, and Charlotte County, and it would be an honor to serve you.