5 Ways to Make Family Meetings Work for Your Family

Even if you've never been the type of clan to hold such gatherings, family meetings can be a time-efficient way to discuss the various issues that might come up in the course of caregiving. Great focal points include anything from healthcare concerns to how finances should be managed.

Some tips to give the meeting habit a good start:

  • In planning, think as broadly as seems relevant -- don't overlook geographically distant siblings, stepsiblings or stepchildren, or adult grandchildren. Anyone with a direct stake in the outcome of a decision, or who is directly affected, should be involved.

  • If you can't all be in the same place at the same time, make use of a free conference-call telephone service. To find one, search online using the terms free conference calls or free family calls.

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  • Suggest making meetings regular. Pick every Sunday afternoon, or the first Saturday of every month -- whatever makes sense.

  • Invite agenda input from everyone participating. Each person might be seeing priorities differently.

  • If feelings are running high or relationships are contentious, consider inviting a neutral third-party to run the meeting, such as an elder-statesman relative or a geriatric care manager.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio