When family is gathered for the holidays, there can be every emotion from joy to frustration, excitement to relaxation, but the holidays can also provide a great opportunity to have important conversations with the whole family. To help you navigate the waters of “family meetings” we have put together a “Holiday Family Meeting Guide” that we hope will give you confidence and comfort this holiday season.

Senior Helpers’ Holiday Family Meeting Guide:

  • The person leading the meeting can be the elderly relative who anticipates needing care in the future. If that person already needs care, an adult child, friend or relative can lead.
  • Encourage discussion and get input from everyone. Make sure everyone makes their feelings known.
  • Discuss money. Who will pay? How? Who will be executor if the money is coming from the elderly relative’s estate?
  • At the end of the meeting, everyone present must commit to support the plan.
  • Write it down. Good intentions are often forgotten over time and family members must have their responsibilities right in front of them.

Do’s and Don’ts for Family Meeting

  • DON’T  talk when the whole family is seated at the dinner table.
  • DO  go away from family festivities to have a discussion, perhaps out to lunch with siblings.
  • DON’T  approach elderly loves with a threat like, “If you don’t pay your electric bill, they’ll turn the power off on you and you won’t have heat or lights. You have to pay your bill!”
  • DO  approach elderly loved ones  in a non- threatening way.  When cleaning dishes, you might say, “I saw your electric bill on the table. Can I help you with that?”
  • DON’T  try to plan for the next few years. Circumstances change.
  • DO  plan for the next six months and agree to meet at that point to discuss if the plan is working and agreeable to all parties.

How do you approach family meetings? Do you plan to have an important conversation with your family this holiday season?

We hope this helps as you process through the ups and downs of caring for an aging loved one, and we’d love to hear how you have handled family talks like this!

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