Family Communication and Eldercare Dealing with Family Dynamics

By on November 15, 2012

Effective communication to overcome family dynamics

Heart Shape people
Effective family communication to overcome the challenges of family dynamics can be useful to running the elder home care meeting. Once you have planned the family meeting, you must now prepare for potential conflicts prior to the meeting.

Before the meeting begins, state the purpose of the meeting is to come up with solutions to achieve the wishes of your aging loved one. The main goal is to provide quality care in a safe and loving environment and the importance of everyone being involved.

  • Prior to the family meeting ask for a volunteer to take notes and write down assigned tasks that each family member agrees to accomplish.
  • Assign someone to distribute the notes via email, mail or in person.
  • Assign someone to develop a master schedule. This person should be the most organized individual in the family. On this schedule, there should be listed doctor appointments, social events that your loved one wants to attend, and medication refill reminders, etc. The person responsible for each task should be placed next to that task on the calendar.
  • Have everyone bring their calendars to schedule the next family communication meeting. Family meetings should be held on a regular basis. You decide if monthly or every other month is sufficient. Some meetings may be done by phone or in a chat room if everything is going smoothly. Other meetings will need to be in person to address more difficult issues as they arise.

 

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It is important to begin the family meeting by presenting the situation clearly, concisely and to the point. We have a family problem regarding the care of our loved one and we need solutions to overcome these problems. It is important to include everyone in this plan. To start we will develop a care plan. Address each individual topic regarding the wishes of your aging loved one and discuss solutions to those topics. Keep the solutions to only one or two options. Solutions may be compromises. Solutions may have problems. Consider these issues as you are determining what is in the best interest for your loved one. The end result is for everyone to share in the responsibility and care giving to assure the safety and well being of your aging loved one.

Assign responsibilities and keep each relative tasks grouped together. For example, if someone is going to monitor medications, then they should be responsible for reordering the meds and knowing when to obtain new prescriptions prior to running out of medication. This would also require communicating with the other member of the family who is responsible for setting up the doctor appointments and transporting the aging family member to the doctor. Grouping responsibilities together allows for continuity and allows things to get done. It also prevents things from falling through the cracks as one family member waits for another family member to get their task done.

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Assign a family member the task of exploring community resources, senior programs, services and volunteer groups in your area. Link to professional home health care options page, site map professional services

Everyone must understand that there is room for flexibility, but once they agree to a responsibility it is theirs. Being flexible means that everyone must be willing to take someone else’s task to cover for vacations etc, but that trade off is not permanent. The family members must continue to contribute to the care giving process when they return. It is also important that as the needs and physical and medical condition of your aging loved one changes, so will the responsibilities of each family member. Everyone must be prepared that the plan of care can change at any time

This is also the time to discuss having an emergency plan in place should a medical crisis occur.

Effective family communication must continue

It is important that each family member communicate on a regular basis with each other. Using email, chat rooms or 3 way calls are several alternatives to keep each other informed and aware of any changes in your loved one that may require another family meeting earlier than scheduled. Another alternative is to put a phone tree in place and everyone is responsible for calling someone else.

Family dynamics will get in the way at times. Old feelings and unresolved issues will rear its ugly head. It is important to constantly reinforce that the focus is on what is best for your aging loved one. It is important to reiterate that with every meeting.

It is very important that everyone listen. There are going to be some emotional responses, from anger to tearfulness. Everyone must understand that it is important to take the information that the emotional family member is delivering and listen to what they are saying, not HOW they are saying it. Don’t get caught up in the emotions. Listen, stay on task and continue to address the issues at hand.

Utilizing effective communication to overcome the challenges of family dynamics is an ongoing process. It is never an easy task. Care giving should be a shared responsibility of all family members. If that is not possible, then outside resources should be explored. Regular family meetings, with the sole purpose of providing quality care in a safe loving environment are always the number one goal. Communicating is the key to success, even if it is painful to do. You may be surprised that with opening the lines of communication between family members, old issues become resolved and new family dynamics are set in motion. This can be the positive result of shared care giving.

The goal of Caregiver Relief is to help your family communication techniques be successful for you and your aging loved ones.

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