Collaborative Family Meetings

Helping Your Family Move Forward

People Around a PuzzleIt’s no surprise. Issues involving aging parents and loved ones with disabilities offer limitless opportunities for disagreements.

And let’s face it – disagreement does not feel good. Nor does indecision.

They both cause stress, pain and can inhibit your ability to think clearly. Which is especially important when you are trying to make the best possible decisions for your loved one.

Where should mom live? Who should handle finances? How will you share an inherited home?

Who should you choose for home care? How can the primary caregiver get a break? How can parents work together to make decisions for a disabled child?

Decisions like these are vitally important and the outcome significant for the one you’re making the decision for. But because these can be highly emotional issues, families struggle. What would it look like to have everyone in agreement? What would it feel like to have a unified plan for your family’s future?

Why families get stuck

We understand how and why families can get stuck. We see it all the time. Mix together multiple decision makers and personalities of family members with economic and geographic disparities, then add their history and varying expectations, it is a wonder that any family can come to consensus.

And if coming to an agreement is difficult enough, imagine having to make decisions that have consequences related to complicated issues surrounding Medicaid and Medicare regulations and tax and estate laws!

We can help

Because of our experience seeing families unable to find common ground for the benefit of their loved one, we have added Amy Sereday, a Family Meeting Facilitator to our staff. Amy holds a Master’s degree in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Columbia University.

Serving as a non-judgmental sounding board and supporter, Amy will help your family brainstorm solutions, break down problems and decisions into more manageable pieces – countering the tunnel vision that can happen when people are overwhelmed. She offers a safe space to put all your ideas on the table and make sense out of them, so your family can come to its own consensus. And move on.

Common topics for facilitated meetings:
  • Independence and safety – For example, taking away the car keys, staying active and social, setting boundaries, enrolling a disabled child in school/therapy
  • Living arrangements – Addressing the selling of a house, where a parent should live, furniture and belongings.
  • Caregiving – One person shouldering the burden or being controlling, another not pulling his or her weight
  • Financial concerns – What can the senior afford? How will finances be managed? What should be kept private? What should be shared/transparent? What about a sibling who has received more than their “fair share” of financial support or bears unequal caregiving costs, or distrust of the adult child handling the checkbook. Should a family member be compensated for serving as primary caregiver?
  • Medical and end-of-life choices – How will joint agents work together? How will they communicate and make decisions?
  • Roles and responsibilities – How will the responsibilities be shared, and how will schedules be worked out?
  • Communication – How to stay connected, and how to make sure someone doesn’t feel out of the loop

If you are facing an issue, or it is just too difficult for your family to make decisions together, call us soon. You don’t want to impede your ability to make the best decision for your aging parent or loved one with a disability.

We can set up a collaborative family meeting at a location of your choice with Amy so Any can help your family consider each other’s perspectives, align objectives and express thoughts and goals in a supportive environment.

The end result: Together, important decisions will be made. Your loved one will be properly cared for. And you can move on.

Click here to read about how a collaborative family meeting works.