If you are starting the journey of arranging long-term care for your elderly loved one, the road ahead can look daunting. Not only that, it’s a road that you cannot see the twists and turns that will come up so as a caregiver, having a support team is one way to help you navigate this sometimes bumpy, sometimes beautiful journey ahead of you and your aging loved one.
If you’re lucky enough to have siblings or other family members who want to join you on this path, having a family meeting before you begin is important so that all family members are on the same page. “Caring for Dad” may look a lot different to everyone so defining it and then discussing how each part of the care will occur will help your family enjoy the ride with a lot less potholes.
Let’s look at five areas to discuss in that first family meeting.
- Finances. Money is a tough topic so while this may not be easy, it’s one of the most important things to discuss so get it over with first, and the rest will be downhill. Now is the time to have all of your elderly loved one’s financial paperwork so family members understand what your loved one can afford and what may need to be supplemented by family members. In some families, splitting the cost equally works, but in others, you may have other factors that come into play. Try to decide early on to avoid too much financial stress on one family member later.
- Medical. Will there be one family member who will attend all doctor appointments and visits? Or do you split it up? Also, talk about how you’ll share that information with the group. Maybe some members want to know it all and others just need a summary of each visit.
- Household. Does your loved one need help around her home? Hiring an elder care provider to come to her home to help with chores may be one way to ease that burden on family members. An elder care provider can help with chores that you aren’t able to assist with or that take up too much of the time spent with your loved one.
- Social. Making sure your loved one stays connected to the people and things she loves is important. While you can have her elder care provider bring her to social events or community gatherings, having family members include her in their day-to-day living such as little league games or Sunday night dinners, is another wonderful way to show your care for your loved one.
- Communication. Finally, the key to a smooth journey is good communication. You can look at creating a family chat or a private Facebook page if you have a lot of family members who need to stay in the loop. Perhaps plan on monthly meetings to discuss health updates and plan future outings. Whatever works best for you will ensure your loved one gets the best of all of you.
Get started on the right foot for your caregiving journey by tackling these five topics.
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