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Family Caregiver Tools: Planning a Family Meeting
By Erin Schmidt
Nobody can predict the future, but there
are ways to be more prepared for whatever is in store.
Almost nothing is more crucial in times of family
crisis than having the family support system ready to
act. Often times in these situations, the responsibility
is taken on by one family member, or the "matriarch."
But this can be a lot for one person to take on, so the
importance of asking for help is crucial.
CareTogether™ is a caregiver support Web
site informed by and built for family caregivers that
gives families the tools to not only ask for help, but
also organize these efforts. CareTogether™ allows
families to create a free, private page with everything
they need to manage the care of their loved one. Family
caregivers can add other family members to their "care
team" to help manage appointments, delegate tasks, post
updates and more –all from one platform.
So what's the first step for mobilizing
family members to help take action? Family meetings are
a great tool—they can help family caregivers delegate
tasks and rally support around a loved one in crisis.
The Society of Certified Senior Advisors
(CSA) has outlined some guidelines for planning a family
Include all the core family members.
Ideally, have everyone get together in-person. If
(a) family member(s) cannot be present physically,
have a conference call so that they are part of the
conversation. If you will be discussing the fate of
a loved one, it may be best not to have them present
at the first meeting (to ensure other family members
can discuss this very important topic openly without
fear that they will hurt or scare the loved one).
Select a comfortable, neutral and
private location for the meeting. Make sure you find
a place in which everyone can feel at ease. Also,
anticipate that the meeting could get heated, so
privacy is key.
Establish the main purpose of
the meeting and set a short agenda. This will help
your family stay on-task and organized in addressing
(the) major issue(s) rather than seek to solve every
possible issue in just one meeting.
Collect and share information.
Surf the Web, check out the Resources within your
CareTogether™ page—gather information to ensure
everyone has the same working knowledge of your
loved one's condition(s) and/or disease(s).
If you don't feel comfortable
managing the meeting, bring in a mediator. Consider
enlisting or hiring someone more comfortable with
the mediator role.
If you or someone you know need(s) help
managing the care of a loved one, visit
care-together.com to view a demo of this great new tool
to see how it can help your family. Or, register for
your own CareTogether™ page right away (it's FREE).