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Tuesday, February 20, 2007
My folks are getting on in age (nearly 83 and 78 respectively) and I think some decisions need to be made about their care. They need more and more assistance with each passing day. I have three siblings and I'd like to get them together just to make sure we are all on the same page about Mom and Dad's future. Do you have any suggestions on how best to go about having a meeting like this?
A family meeting
about your parents care is an excellent idea, and "getting everyone on
the same page" will certainly make caring for your parents a lot easier.
say that preparation for the meeting is most important. Make a list of
the types of help that are needed now and may be required in the
future. Of course these needs vary according to individual situations
but be sure to give consideration to things relating to physical care,
social stimulation, transportation, shopping, chores, maintenance
around the home, financial assistance, legal issues and other
necessities that you and the family think are relevant.
you've got this list, make it into an agenda and give it to each of
your siblings well before the agreed upon date for the meeting. Ask
them if there is anything they would like to add, and this way they can
have input to the agenda as well as come prepared to discuss how they
are able to contribute to supporting your parents.
when the meeting occurs that everyone feels comfortable exchanging
ideas. During the meeting everyone can share what he or she is able to
do to meet various needs. Some of the needs identified may require
accessing service providers in the community. So there can be a
discussion around who is able to do the research and make contacts as
well as consider how to pay for the services. Since some of the
services and help you are considering for your parents may be required
for a long time, it is wise to plan for a review of any agreements made
at this meeting at a time mutually agreed upon to make adjustments and
changes. I suggest that this timeline be a month or two out, not six
Then when you have got it down, write the plan and
include all details. Everyone affected by the caregiving decisions
should get a copy of the plan even if they can't attend the meetings.
You may want to hold the first meeting without the involvement of your
parents but after that they must be involved, too.