Monday, October 20, 2008

THE FAMILY MEETING


From TODAY, Voices
Wednesday October 15, 2008

By Dr James Dobson

The process of caring for ageing parents can be a time that draws families closer together. Unfortunately, it usually becomes a time that tears them apart. Typically, the sister who lives nearby feels she is sacrificing her life to care for her ageing parents. Her siblings who live far away criticise how she handles the finances. The parents feel cared for, but not cared about; and jealous rivalries arise due to poor communication.

Author Tim Stafford suggests that a family meeting can help bring everybody into the situation on an equal basis. While your parents are still healthy and strong, get all the people concerned to sit down and talk about the years ahead. Talk about medical care, housing, finances and anything else that’s on anyone’s mind. Ask questions like: “Mum, what do you expect during the next 10 years?” and “Dad, what’s the best way we can make things easier for you right now?”

An honest, loving, open meeting like this can help assure that all friends and family members are working from the same set of assumptions and expectations. And it also sets a pattern. When a crisis does arise, calling another family meeting will be a more comfortable established course of action.
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