The idea of holding a family meeting about your aging adult’s health situation can be really frightening. Family dynamics are a difficult thing and the topics that you’re likely going to discuss can be just as difficult. That first meeting is an important one, though.
Keep the First Meeting’s Guest List Small
This first family meeting doesn’t have to include every single person in the family. Keep the list narrowed down to immediate family members. Later meetings might include a wider variety of family members, but this first one should be smaller. Your aging adult might not want to attend this first meeting, either. This is especially true if she’s in denial about her health issues. Hiring home care providers to stay with your senior can help you to have the meeting elsewhere, too.
Address the Entire Situation in the First Meeting
The first meeting is an overview, of sorts. There might be some smaller issues that you’d like to address now, but those are difficult to fully describe without context. This first meeting allows you to set the stage for the entire situation if you will. It provides the context that helps family members to understand the individual issues that you can start bringing up in the next meetings.
Keep the Agenda Short
These types of family meetings can be extremely overwhelming. The agenda for this first meeting needs to be a little bit on the short side. Again, you’re providing an overview and a context. So because of that, it makes sense to stick to only one or two topics, period. A shorter agenda is less intimidating for you, too, because you only have to remember what you need to know about that particular issue.
Lower Your Expectations for the First Meeting
You probably have some high hopes for this meeting. There’s a lot that you want to try to resolve and a lot of help you’re hoping to get from other family members. But don’t be surprised or upset if this first meeting is a little bit rockier than you expected. Getting the first meeting out of the way allows you to get more done in subsequent meetings.
Remember that any future meetings may be far more productive than this one. You’ll have gotten through a lot of the initial issues in this first meeting and you’ll have space to accomplish much more later on. Don’t give up on future meetings because they can do a lot for you and your elderly family member.