When a family unit is caring for their aging parent, they may act with the best intentions, but will likely find differences of opinion when it comes to what will most help their loved one. While working with siblings or close family members can be tricky, having strong communication skills, mutual respect, and an understanding that you’re all here for your parent will help you work together and make decisions about their care.
“It’s important for family members to let each other voice their thoughts about their loved one’s care. They all want to provide their parent with the best care option possible, but another family member can offer a perspective they may not have considered,” says Halie Dickinson, Community Relations Director of YourLife™ of Tallahassee. “Listening and discussing all the options as a family can help you make decisions efficiently and without anyone feeling like their opinion wasn’t heard.”
To give your family a strong start to being an effective support system for your parent, check out the following suggestions on what you can implement when you need to make decisions together.
Regular Family Meetings Can Facilitate Communication
As you’re helping your loved one get the care they need, ideas and possible changes may occur to you. This is likely also happening to others on your caregiving team. Scheduling consistent meetings to discuss these matters will allow you all to stay on the same page. If possible, try to keep these meetings in person so you can have that valuable face-to-face interaction.
When your family has a meeting, there is potential for heated moments and strong opinions. To help keep the conversation productive, create an agenda to follow. Perhaps you’re concerned that your parent isn’t getting enough exercise or you’ve noticed a new issue that will need a solution. Sharing this agenda beforehand allows your family to have a roadmap to follow. Here are some key tips when having these meetings:
- Plan What You Want to Address
- Stay Present
- Speak from Your Perspective – and Allow Others to Do the Same
When everyone’s voice is heard, no one is left out and you all feel you’re on equal footing. Some groups may bring in professional help to mediate the discussion. A social worker or other third party presence can help keep the meeting focused. You can all work together to find the best solution to help your parent.
How Can You Reflect on Decisions to Benefit Your Loved One?
Your loved one’s care and needs may change over time and your plan may need to adapt accordingly. If you’ve made changes, taking time to review them can be just as beneficial as making the decisions themselves. During a meeting, perhaps you and your family could review the following questions:
- Did the decision benefit your loved one?
- What worked about the decision and what could use further improvement?
- Do you think this decision needs more time to settle, or is change necessary?
You may find that a decision didn’t have the best outcome or that it needs some fine-tuning. A solution that you may have been sure would help your parent may not have worked out – and that’s okay. While there isn’t a cheat sheet to caring for your loved one, learning and being willing to change as you go will help you all arrive at the right decision for them.
See What Our Senior Living Community Has to Offer
YourLife™ of Tallahassee provides seniors with high quality care and a welcoming, engaging environment where they can thrive. We offer individualized support so each resident has their unique care plan that best suits them. Our staff understands how finding the right plan for your loved one takes time. We’re ready to help. For more tools on assisting your family in supporting your loved one, call us today.