Guest Contributor

As the holidays approach, many families gather to make decisions regarding care for aging relatives. Under the best of circumstances, these conversations can be difficult. When family dynamics are complicated, the situation can be more so. Here are some suggestions to make life easier for families: 

  • Plan with not for. Include the older adult in the decision-making process and allow him or her to share feelings, ideas and preferences. 
  • Know wishes. Ask your relative what he or she wants (and maybe ask to put it in writing). All of us want to have a say in our life choices and it’s no different as we age. When preferences are known, it ensures that we’re honoring our loved one’s wishes and can diminish family conflict. 
  • Create an agenda. If you choose to have a family meeting to discuss a care plan, create a meeting agenda and set clear goals for your time together. This can help the discussion stay on course and, hopefully, address the intended issues.
  • Involve family who live at a distance. Sometimes, family members can feel left out of important decisions — especially if they live far away.  Skype, FaceTime and Zoom are great tools to use to help all family members feel included! 

 If you have questions about additional eldercare resources, please contact the Council on Aging helpline at (615) 353-4235. We champion positive aging and collaborative solutions!