Dementia Care Family Meetings and Elder Care Planning

Dementia can be a difficult diagnosis for families to accept and manage. Learn how regular family meetings can improve communication, provide education, and set boundaries for caring for a loved one with dementia. Discover tips for successful meetings and how to bring in an objective third party.

Dementia Care Family Meetings and Elder Care Planning
What is Elder Care Planning

Dementia? Did the doctor say I have dementia? Your first reaction is “This cannot be”. For many, denial may set in. Then there is the concern and over worry about the future.

There are so many concerns a family faces when it comes to dementia and elder care planning. The first step is to begin having regular family meetings. These meetings should address the ongoing concerns and issues that occur, while caring for an aging family member. These meetings also allow families to become better-educated. Make more informed choices on resources and care.

Discover the ins and outs of effective long-term care planning, assemble a reliable care team partner support group, create a user-friendly care plan, and find the necessary support to implement a successful caregiving strategy. Taking care of seniors and their family caregivers warrants initiating a care plan. Although each family's care plans may differ, incorporating some essential elements into the planning process will greatly facilitate the caregiving journey.

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    If reading this gives you a sense overwhelm, relax. Caregiver Relief has created courses and tool you can use throughout your caregiving journey. The ElderCare Communication Course has many lessons with tips and strategies on the tough conversations. We have a lesson on how to have a family meeting. There is a printable guide for you to share with your family members.

    We also have a New to Caregiving course. This is a course I suggest you encourage the entire family to take. It is a self directed course that you can take as you can fit it your schedule. Now, let's talk about the care plan

    What Exactly is a Care Plan?

    A care plan serves as a valuable tool for long-term care providers to document a patient's specific needs and preferences, as well as assign caregiving responsibilities to ensure prompt and excellent care. Likewise, family caregivers can benefit from using a similar approach to organize their daily tasks and even create an official record of provided services in exchange for compensation. (This legal document is commonly referred to as a personal care agreement or family caregiver contract.)
    Once a care plan is established, family caregivers can effectively structure their duties and concentrate on one task at a time. Regularly reviewing and updating a senior's care plan is vital to address any new or increasing needs promptly. This not only improves the quality of care received but also minimizes the chances of any mishaps. Additionally, comprehensive care planning facilitates the involvement of others in a loved one's care, allowing primary caregivers to arrange much-needed respite time.

    Building Your Care Team Partner Support Group

    When should you become actively involved in your aging loved one's daily life and care? Adult children often discuss their parents' health and living situation amongst themselves until an unforeseen event prompts immediate action. However, it is strongly advised against leaving things until the last minute and delving into caregiving without a proper strategy. Although it happens frequently, embarking on the caregiving journey blindly should be avoided.
    Having a care team in place can provide the necessary support and assistance. This care team can consist of family members, close friends, trusted neighbors, and anyone else who can contribute.

    However, to make initial care planning discussions less overwhelming, it is recommended to limit participation to immediate family members. Initiating conversations about long-term care as early as possible allows for a comprehensive understanding of your loved one's needs and preferences.

    It is important to have formal eldercare meetings. Done in a business like fashion. Families may support one another other with boundaries and limits set.

    This keeps the family dynamics to a limit. This allows all family members to become educated on all the resources available. Then time is given to discuss the differences., everyone has the ability to offer solutions.

    Let us explain.

    There is always a primary caregiver. There are various factors that affect that individual’s role. The primary candidate is often determined by

    • Gender
    • Culture
    • Birth order
    • Marriage

    Historically, other family members and friends of dementia caregivers, take the role and the stress that the primary caregiver endures, for granted.

    Regularly scheduled, family meetings give the primary caregiver the ability to relay that everyone has an expectation of help. It may be in person support, or financial support.

    Elder care meetings can improve the communications between family members. They can help keep the family informed on the ongoing and future concerns.

    It is important to approach your family meeting in a planned and business like manner. This approach can prevent having to manage arising situations by family members. Many will feel as if they are functioning in "crisis" mode and be very emotional.

    How to Become a Patient Care Advocate course

    Your first eldercare meeting should have identified goals and rules. These will be for everyone involved, family and friends.

    This may be an uncomfortable first step, but setting rules is very important.

    The topics of conversation can become unpleasant and heated. Emotions will flair up and everyone will become upset. Set goals and rules in the beginning. They will not stop these moments from occurring, but can decrease the amount of times they may occur.

    The goal of the first family meeting is to develop a “team” approach to the ongoing care giving process. If, there are any unpleasant family interactions, this is the time to be firm and strong. Request that everyone put their differences aside. The goal is to provide care to your parent or spouse.

    The first meeting agenda may address three or four issues or concerns. This is the time to ask everyone involved to ask what they consider important to them. This is also the time to ask everyone what tasks and responsibilities they will take on for the duration.

    We suggest that you ask someone to be the secretary to take notes and send them via snail mail or email to everyone. Make sure that everyone has a task or job and a time frame that that task must be completed. Before you end your first meeting make sure everyone brings their calendar. This is so that you can schedule the next meeting.

    Enhance Your Care Plan with Professional Help

    Embracing support from family members and close friends is a natural choice, as they are familiar with your preferences and routines. However, don't overlook the possibility of expanding your caregiving network beyond these individuals. If you have a smaller family or lack a supportive care team, there are resources available to ensure the success of your care plan. Throughout your caregiving journey, elder care professionals and long-term care services can play a crucial role. Make sure to explore the following options for respite and guidance:

    Home Care: In-home care companies offer assistance with care planning and provide professional caregivers who can assist your loved one with daily activities, housekeeping, errands, companionship, transportation, and more.

    Adult Day Care: If you want to keep your loved ones at home but need additional support during the day, adult day services are a perfect fit.

    Geriatric Care Managers or Caregiver Coach: Also known as Aging Life Care Professionals, these advocates are experts in the elder care industry. They conduct extensive research on available resources, coordinate care and benefits, and assist with long-term care planning and difficult decisions. As a member of CareGiver Relief you have discounted Care manager and Caregiver coaches services available to you.

    Elder Law Attorneys: These legal professionals specialize in issues related to aging, including long-term care planning, advance care planning, and estate planning. They can help with wills, trusts, powers of attorney, guardianship, and other legal matters.

    Financial Planners: Finding the means to pay for long-term care can be challenging for many families. A reputable financial planner or advisor can provide assistance with retirement planning, investment strategies, tax issues, and more.

    Physicians: Your loved one's doctors are responsible for managing the medical aspects of their care plan. Building relationships with each of them is crucial, as it helps facilitate communication and coordination among the healthcare team. Your care team might include a primary care physician, geriatrician, neurologist, psychologist, and other specialists.

    Social Workers: Found in hospitals and long-term care facilities, these care coordinators specialize in helping patients and family members understand diagnoses, make care decisions, and navigate the healthcare system. They provide valuable support and guidance.

    By incorporating these engaging resources into your care plan, you can ensure a comprehensive and effective approach to your loved one's well-being.

    There are going to be times when having a family meeting are difficult or even impossible. In these situations, it is important that you consider having ... an objective third party to moderate your family meeting.

    • A caregiver coach
    • A gerontologist
    • Geriatric care manager
    • Or a caregiver Coach

    These are individuals that are skilled to facilitate and work with a family at every level. In your case, you would want someone that is also experienced in all types of dementias.

    Tips to a successful family meeting:

    • A list of topics for provided for discussion ahead of time.
    • Request all family members have potential solutions to the topics on the agenda. If possible.
    • Set a time limit for family meeting

    Rule #1 No one is permitted to speak longer than 5 minutes on a topic. Have a timer available. This will keep any one family member from taking control of the meeting.

    Initially, each meeting should begin by asking ... each family member to take responsibility to research and provide education to the family. Research on the diagnosis, community resources, or legal documents that need to be addressed. This may be a fact sharing sheet on a diagnosis or information on a power of attorney.

    Consider using Zoom, or a speakerphone to include even those family members that live a distance. With today’s technology there is no reason for anyone to be left out.

    Remind everyone to bring their calendars. You want to schedule the next meeting before ending each meeting.

    The family meetings will not always go smoothly nor will they always solve every problem. Sometimes the family meeting will be a reminder that there are not... clear-cut solutions to every problem. The goal of the team is to do what is in the best interest of the family member with dementia and the primary caregiver.

    The benefits of family meetings are to decrease the unhealthy communications and dynamics. These dynamics worsen under ongoing stress. Having ongoing family meetings can also give everyone an opportunity to be involved. It is at times such as these… when entire families pull together… that stronger family bonds and relationships develop. These reach new and satisfying levels.

    Want to learn more on care plans and building a care team partner support group here

    Have you held a family meeting? Did you have an outside source run it? Do you have tips for others that want to have a family meeting? Please share here? Help others realize that they are not alone. Submit Your Caregiver Story
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