Eldercare Planning Through Family Meetings
Elder care is a complicated topic, and a lot of time and planning goes into deciding what is best for an individual. Those responsible for the planning must consider hundreds of possibilities and ask themselves just as many questions. For example, is the loved one in question better off in an assisted living community or remaining in their house with the help of a home care option? How often does the senior need medical care? And the list goes on.
Eldercare Planning & Family Meetings
Discussing the specifics of elder care for an individual is stressful and frustrating, especially when every family member wants a say in what is going to happen. While it is nice that every family member wants to take part in this big decision, often it gets hectic and families forget that they are not planning for themselves, but an older family member or loved one. When things get hectic, sometimes it seems easier for one individual to plan out the details of elder care by himself of herself, but it’s important to discuss these things with the entire family, or at least everyone that is affected.
Why Hold a Meeting?
Simply put, a family meeting should be held so that every individual involved in the family has a say in the care of the individual. Family members that live a further distance from the individual may feel that they are left out of any decision making because they probably won’t be the primary caregiver.
It’s also easier for family members or loved ones to express any concerns they may have about the individual who is entering elder care. Holding these meetings face-to-face lessens the chance of any confusion, and it also gives each person the ability to provide his or her input.
Who Should Come to the Meeting?
Without making the group too large, the people in attendance should include anyone who may be directly affected by the move. Successful meeting groups typically range from four to eight people, and shouldn’t exceed 10. Groups should include any children, spouses and any people that see the individual on a regular basis and know what challenges he or she comes across at home.
Some believe that the individual should be in attendance, while many others believe the senior shouldn’t be involved in the conversation due to illnesses like dementia or Alzheimer’s, or other disorders causing them to become confrontational.
While that situation may be difficult, there are many ways to discuss options with an elderly individual that is reluctant to move out of his or her own home. Although, there are times that it is perfectly OK to hold this meeting without the individual if family members believe he or she will get confrontational and/or dangerous.
What Should be Discussed in a Meeting?
Throughout the meeting, every person should address any concerns they may have about eldercare, while expressing what they think the best option is. Many families are surprised that they all have the same thoughts on what is best for the individual. Any financial concerns and specifics should be figured out at this time as well, to the best of the family’s ability.
Be sure to keep everything in a positive light and acknowledge the individual frequently, ensuring that they feel involved. The family must remember that this may be a difficult time for the individual.
Whether or not every family member at the meeting gets along, it is important to push differences aside, and consider the well-being of the individual at hand. Another issue that may arise in this situation is disagreeing on what’s best for a mother or father, or grandparent. It’s important for everyone to acknowledge that there is more than one solution to your eldercare dilemma. Recognize that family members may have different values when it comes to their loved one (i.e. quality of life vs. quantity of life). This is why it’s crucial to keep the senior involved in the decision-making process.
Finally, it is important to remember that elder care planning is a complicated process, and it may not be planned out after one meeting – actually, it may take months. Although, the longer it takes, the more detailed the plan is, and it provides the senior proper time to prepare themselves for the big move; whether it’s to another family member’s house, residential care facility, or a nursing home.