The best way to get everyone on board with what’s happening in your loved one’s life is to have a family meeting. This allows family members to share their thoughts, get up to date on the medical and emotional issues at hand, and take an active part in the process.
A family meeting is a good way to gather everyone together in one place so that each person can be a part of the discussion and come away with the same information.
When the Family Is Across the Miles
Just because family members live far away doesn’t mean they can’t take part in caregiving. Use a video call service like Skype or even just a speakerphone so they can be part of the conversation during the family meeting. Siblings, grandchildren, and any other caring folks close to the family should all be included.
The main caregiver should stress the importance of having everyone contribute to the care of their loved one. Sometimes people living far away may feel as if their contributions don’t matter and that there’s nothing they can do to help. But even relatives who live across the county can call at specified times during the day to check in on their loved one or provide emotional and financial support for the main caregiver.
Organizing the Meeting
An email to confirm the main points to cover during a meeting will help keep things on track. The Caregiver Action Network suggests discussion topics such as the daily needs of your loved one, the most current medical report, and any financial questions or concerns.
The initial family meeting is the perfect time to discuss the duties that each person will be responsible for. It’s a good idea to assign people certain tasks to be in charge of and other duties to provide backup on. This helps ensure that all the areas of care are covered by someone.
Play to the Strengths of Your Family Members
When assigning tasks, start by asking for volunteers. Talk to family members about how they feel about helping in a certain area. Some people are naturally more adept at things like compassion, cooking, or researching information. But just because a family member shows a certain strength in one area doesn’t mean he can’t also teach the others how to prepare meals, manage medications, or perform other duties.
Caregiving roles don’t have to stay static. Family members can rotate responsibility, fill in for each other for vacations, or change tasks as the need arises. This eases the main caregiver’s emotional toll and also helps each family member to appreciate and support each other on a greater level.
A regular family meeting can help everyone involved look out for each other and provide support as they each share in the caregiving responsibilities.