Conversations with your Parents

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Keep in mind as you begin the dialogue with your parents about future planning that it is a process and as such will have bumps in the road, starts, stops and finally an agreed upon outcome.  If you have siblings and that communication is a problem, it is a wise investment to contact a Geriatric Care Manager who can help you improve communication and build consensus. The last thing that you want to do is have chaos among the siblings when you are trying to demonstrate to your parents are capable and rational you are.

Consider hiring a facilitator to run your meetings if you are more comfortable with that idea. It would allow everyone to focus on the ideas and not be distracted by other people and meeting responsibilities. Meetings with siblings should be

set up before conversations with parents in order to establish common goals, concerns, attitudes and agendas. If it is most comfortable to work in a formal business format with meetings, conference calls, etc. that is fine. If your family culture, is more informal and functions best in a relaxed setting, go for it. What ever you do make sure that you are not creating adversarial situations where people feel that there is not equality and that they do not have an equal say. Power struggles are never successful, but when families try to work together and these occur it is very destructive and dangerous.

Don’t forget that someone should be keeping minutes and disseminating them after the meeting. This helps people remember points made during the meeting as well as to think about the ideas from the meeting . 

You have now decided on what points you are going to make,  you have choreographed the conversation and have agreed on when the meeting will take place.  The only thing left is to have the meeting!