The Importance of a Family Caregiving Meeting During a Pandemic

When dealing with the care of an aging loved one, a family caregiving meeting is an essential especially in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These meetings are beneficial for helping to keep all family members abreast of decisions that need to be made, changes in diagnosis or prognosis, and help to ensure that all family members feel that they have a voice. Family meetings can also help to keep caregiving responsibilities from falling solely on the shoulders of one family member. In addition, these meetings can foster cooperation among family members and lessen the stress associated with caring for an aging loved one. 

Who should attend a family caregiving meeting?

There are a number of people who should be included in a family caregiving meeting. First and foremost, it is important to include the aging loved one in the meeting whenever possible. This helps the individual to feel that they are being heard and that their opinions and thoughts are being considered. If a spouse is living, the spouse should be included, as well as any children and possibly siblings. Some families may choose to include other family members, but this really varies from one family to another. Anyone else involved in caring for the person should also be there. This could include paid caregivers, family friends, or neighbors. Depending on family dynamics, a facilitator can be helpful in running the meeting.

When should a family have a caregiving meeting?

First it is important to note that family caregiving meetings are not a one and done event. They must occur on a regular basis to discuss changes in diagnosis, prognosis, or general needs of the loved one or the caregivers. The first family meeting can occur before an individual actually needs care. This can give the person who may eventually need care more say in their future care. Unfortunately, most families find that the initial meeting needs to occur when a loved one begins to show signs of needing care or when a diagnosis is given that determines care will soon be needed. 

How can a family hold a successful caregiving meeting?

The key to having a successful caregiving meeting is cooperation. This doesn’t mean that family members will agree on everything, but it is important that all family members are respectfully heard and considered. Families must be willing to compromise and seek the best plan for their aging loved one. Additionally, a smoothly run meeting should have an agenda and families should try to stay focused on the items included on the agenda. When holding a meeting, someone should be in charge of taking notes and making sure that all those involved get a copy of the important information and everyone’s responsibilities. 

What challenges do families face in caregiving meetings?

One of the biggest challenges to family caregiving meetings is the family’s history. All families have their own dynamics that can cause problems. There may be members of the family who are at odds with one another, creating an obstacle to having a successful caregiving meeting. The role that each family member plays can be a challenge as well. Some members may be overbearing and demand control, while others are peacemakers and do not feel free to share their thoughts. Another challenge is that some family members may be in denial of the severity of an aging loved one’s needs which could make it difficult to get a consensus for care.

Family caregiving meetings are beneficial and necessary when an aging loved one can no longer care for themselves. These meetings can help to divide the responsibilities of caregiving and reduce stress placed on the family members. It is important that families remember that the meetings are about the care of their loved one and cooperation with one another is key to help the process run more smoothly and successfully.

If you have any questions about something you have read or would like additional information related to family caregiving meetings, please contact our office at 314-872-3333 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.