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I have a need to document things since my family is very combative. However one sibling will not email, they will read my emails, and then call me up (and talk for an hour about other things than what was needed to discuss).
This sibling says I shouldn't be using email at all with family, because for important discussions they should all be in person (or over phone).
But it takes me longer to think while in a discussion, so for me it works best to think about things, then write, and also it helps to "cool down" so I don't say something I regret. I really prefer email.
How do I maintain contact with this sibling, when they only want phone calls, and I only want emails?
Also I feel it's important to document what is said, in case there is any "he said she said" misunderstandings down the road.

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I appreciate all the suggestions! I love the idea of going ahead with the phone call, taking notes, and then following up with email.
Even though, this is waaaay more time consuming (for me).
All of this is just way more work for me than any of the other siblings! If I had it to do over again, I would live in Australia, then I might have a life. But then my kids would never have known their grandparents.....so I guess I am better off living right here, and being the Caregiver.
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Get a recorder or if you have a smart phone, get a recording app and or use your phone's video recorder.
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Grace, I have a SIL who can neither text nor email. There are people out there who couldn't type even if you held a gun to their head. So phone her, keep a steno pad handy and make notes as you talk. Recording the calls will only upset her and start a fight. Keep a cool head, if one of you is yelling, end the call with any excuse handy " I gotta pee, I'll call you back" and let both cool down.
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In business, many times a client will pick up the phone and call, usually to feel me out about a project, and many times this conversation changes the direction of plans. This might affect budgets, schedules, personnel requirements, etc. I've learned to follow up every call with a memo back to the client: "This is what I understand from our phone discussion today." Do this to your picky sibling. Even if your sibling won't write back, at least you will have a running log of the conversations and if they don't like it, then - tough.

And, as long as you are in the email/writing mode, I have also found that keeping a diary helps, especially when it comes to the day-to-day interactions with the person you are taking care of. There are many times when something is done or said that slips your mind, or comes back to haunt you. With a diary you can review the days/activities/interactions. Believe me, sometimes it can be telling of yourself and you might need an attitude adjustment (I did), but mostly it helps you gauge the wellbeing of your person. I've watched my MIL deteriorate in so many ways. Had I not been keeping a log I would have forgotten or missed many clues I need to be aware of today. This will also help you communicate with her doctor better.

Good luck. You are doing a good job, a challenging, sometimes thankless job. Do not let the outsiders deter you from what you know is best.
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I do not know how it works in other states but in Colorado, as long as one of the parties (probably you) are aware that the conversation is being recorded, that is all you need - record the conversation. It is easy to do with any land line phone that has an answering machine. Read the manual for the specific instructions to your particular machine. You will probably have to purchase a few of those small tapes. They look like minature cassette tapes from years ago. Check the laws in your state about recording conversations before you do. Best of Luck!
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I use emails to document information and to ensure that everyone is getting the exact same information at the same time. Yes, caregivers are consumed with the physical, emotional and mental burdens and decision making. I use emails to create records for myself of names, dates, time, of discussions with medical and social service personnel and my mother's progress and/or regressions. Those little scraps of paper we take notes on become meaningless after a while. From the Sent emails, I've created a folder called "Mom" and move pertinent emails to that folder. Believe me, it has become VERY helpful. How can we help but forget the names and dates when things occur. You can sort emails by dates! I'd only suggest that you conclude your emails by asking family for their input. That way you cannot be accused of not opening the door to your family. RARELY did I get opinions or suggestions. IMO, no response is also a response. I suspect the family member who does not want to use emails believes ignorance is bliss. There's no other reason not to. Keep on doing what you are doing.
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Grace, I like emails too - only way I can finish a sentence without getting challenged or flat-out contradicted. Sigh. Goodness, isn't it all so wearying?

I'd suggest a combination of many above - you go ahead and email, if that's what suits you, and when this sister calls you in return jot down notes and doodles as you go. Which you could then, if you like and can be bothered, type up into a confirming email and send to sister if you want to be really punctilious about it: so that, if she has a difference with your recollection of the phone conversation, she's got a chance to say so.

But, you know, I know I'm doing this; I wonder if maybe you are too? - I resent the time and effort it takes me to communicate with my siblings at all (although things have been quiet, or quietish, recently with my sister) and it makes me quite grumpy about anything they say or do. I mean, just suppose your sister did email you back and she'd misunderstood something you said, or you misunderstood her etc etc etc - the cat'd be even more among the pigeons, wouldn't it? Poor woman can't do right for doing wrong, in a way.

I do remind myself (my daughters agree vigorously, but have more sense than to bring the subject up themselves) that my siblings are not actually setting out to annoy the hell out of me. It just feels like it sometimes.

And I completely agree about the 'cooling off' period. That and the esprit d'escalier. You go ahead and suit yourself, that's what I think anyway.
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I also prefer email over anything else. I was told years ago that I express myself more eloquently in writing than verbally.... sure I do I have time to think about what I am writing! I use to work in management positions so it stands to reason!

At least your siblings will interact with you even if it is via phone. I send emails, texts and mail and most of the time hear NOTHING back. You would think when you text someone they would at least text back "OK or GOT IT" but I hear nothing. Sometimes when I want to make sure that my younger sibling has seen my text, I will actually text her daughter and have her to tell her Mom to read my text. I know she is busy and tired, but just let me know you got it...please!

I would record the conversations if you think you really need to. It cannot be used in a court of law but if you just want it on tape for a "he said, she said thing" then do it. The siblings probably already know you want something in writing and that is the very reason they are refusing. If you record it, make sure you talk about the subject in question and then go back over it by saying, "So then what you are saying, is that you think Mom should go into a hospital?" Let them re state their stance on an issue so everything is clear. Do not use this as a way of causing more arguments however, it will only tear your family further apart!
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Email vs. telephone is a personal preference, sometimes guided by personality and/or disabilities, not a right or wrong choice. If you have someone who is phone oriented and you are email oriented, accept it. That person is trying to communicate in the medium that works best for them. Don't waste valuable time trying to convert a phone-preference to an email-preference, or vice versa--it isn't going to happen. Don't waste emotional energy resenting that person--they are as uncomfortable with email as you are with telephone.

There are excellent suggestions above for documenting telephone conversations. Continue to email; let your sibling know he can call you; if your sibling asks questions or makes statements you want to think over, tell him that you will get back to him. Think it over and send an email with your answer.

And read The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney. There's a lot of fluff but some excellent information on understanding and dealing with different personality types and their communication preferences.
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I have had this issue with the nursing home, as noted in an earlier response, there are one party and two party states find out using the link she provided what the laws are for your state in terms of recording conversations. Another way is to indicate you will be taking notes during the conversation and that you will to the best of your ability capture the key points discussed. Then send a copy to each participant with the statement I have prepared a written synopsis of the conversation held with XYZ and the date. Please read these and send me any comments or corrections your believe necessary to insure the content is correct If I do not receive a reply within five or whatever is reasonable working days, I will consider the content is accurate as presented. You can then send them both by email and snail mail the conversation. They will get the idea you are serious and actually, it serves to preserve the accuracy of your interactions that are easily and honestly not always remembered as stated.
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They are both right and wrong. Emails are not always necessarily private. Tell them that you will have to record the conversation because to much information is being discussed and you want to make sure you are fairly documenting their opinions. I have to write a great deal every day for the very same reasons. It is time consuming but very important, as we move toward a mediation hearing. My documents/notes now exceed three hundred pages of diligent documentation in less than a year. Hang in there.
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This relentlessly adversarial relationship is toxic.

Are you the caregiver? Do you have power of attorney? Then just stop it with the emails, calls or whatever.

I found out the hard way when I took over care of my elderly mother that it doesn't work to manage her and the household by committee. Not only did I stop asking for opinions from my two sisters, I learned to sidestep their questions when they tried to butt in. Now I keep them informed about how Mom's doing and that's it.

But if it's impossible to operate without your family's interference, you may want to think about getting out of the position in which you're stuck. How long can your health survive this sort of stress?

Good luck and God bless.
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What ages are all that are involved? Many elderly do not like computers and do not have a good time using them. Maybe your sister's eye site is poor. I am thinking that it is her age, that is the problem. I use e-mail, but I do like a reply, so that I know it was read.
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The problem is not email vs phone. I agree with phone personally, email is not a good communication tool, it is too easy to misinterpret tone and intent. The problem is trust, which leads you to think email is the answer. Email is transactional one way communiques, last thing you want is to pull it up and throw it in anyones face.

Talk through problems, agree to take actions, assign them and follow up. If she agrees to visit and does not, the call her. Mail documents, for example an invoice she agrees to pay.

I do not believe email will help.
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For phone conversations, have a full legal pad near the phone with a pen. When the phone rings get in the habit of writing the date, time and person on the phone in the upper right corner, then jot down notes of what is said. Do not change any words. Just write down the salient points, not every thing.

Make a list of the points you want to make and refer to that list while you are having conversations. That will keep you on track and help you to be thoughtful and thorough.

At the end of the conversation, summarize the action steps agreed to and who will do what by when. Write it down and maybe send the action list to everyone by email or regular mail.

Always say kind things, like thank you and please and I love you, if you can. That doesn't cost anyone anything and helps to keep things flowing positively.

The people who want to have a discussion may want to be able to change their minds and consider different possibilities, which is a good thing.

Try to remain flexible and understand that people can make one decision and then decide something else, given more information.

Also, how about starting every conversation with some heartfelt expression. Say something like... you are most interested in the well being of... or you hope that after all this we are a closer family in the long run for it. Starting conversations from a place where your expression is positive may help.

You can't change anyone else, but you can change you (at least that's what everyone tells me ;-).

Best wishes to you on this journey.
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I don't know what I would do without email! I have four siblings in three different states (none of them in mine!). Email allows me to give all of them updates simultaneously. Good grief, if I had to call each one every time Mom had a doctor's appointment or significant issue, I'd never get anything else done.

GrandmaLynn5's method gets my vote.
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Those are good reasons for email, TBIjourney. I think many people don't realize how STML and processing is an issue with phone or in person conversations. Email is what helps my dad because he has those same issues. Makes perfect sense.
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I have short term memory issues from repetitive concussions. I prefer e-mail interactions for any important discussions for multiple reasons. The first is so I have a record of what was discussed as I may not remember important points. Without a written list in front of me during the interaction I am likely to forget to discuss important things and during conversations I can't process information fast enough to come up with the right next questions or even answers. I also need to write or respond to the e-mails when I am not tired or distracted. As we age or when we are stressed, these become common issues for many. A written interaction prevents things being missed or misunderstood. I tell folks in advance why this accommodation is necessary for me. Calls for social interactions are fine, but during convenient times for the caregiver. But for planning and sharing important information, written interactions may be best.
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@grandmalynn5, I was talking about "face to face" conversations not phone conversations, if you all meet you can tape it that is what I meant.
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In regards to recording conversations on the phone there are laws regarding calls within your own state and calls to a different state. This link explains it quite well. I can record a call made within my own state without any consent of the other person, but can not record a call made to another state without consent. diligentiagroup/legal-investigation/private-investigator-tips-is-it-legal-to-record-a-phone-call-or-conversation/
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A word of caution. As Madeaa suggests, you can record a phone conversation. However, at the beginning of the recording, ask your sibling if it is okay to record the conversation. If he/she says no, then you must turn the recording off. It is against the law to record someone without their permission.

What I do with my brother, who lives 1500 miles away, and also prefers phone conversations, is put in an email a list of things I want to discuss in person in the next phone conversation. That way I get the convenience of e-mails and he gets the phone conversation he prefers. I also send a follow-up e-mail listing any decisions that have been made concerning the issues. I do it as a reply to the original e-mail, and write the decisions next to the items in a different color so it's all documented together. Down the road, like a year later, I have found this to be really helpful as decisions need to be tweaked.
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Grace,
Continue to use e-mail. You are wise to want to document everything. In my case so many thing could have come back to haunt me if I had not saved the e-mails. If sibling will not respond, so be it. But you can keep notes on conversations, then send notes via e-mail to that sibling. If sibling does not respond to the second e-mail, so be it. You can request read receipts by e-mail when the recipient has opened the message, though the receipt request is optional when returned to you.
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In this day and age, I am amazed how many people refuse or do not check email. Email is "electronic mail", no different than a stamped and mailed letter. Would these same people not get their mail from the mailbox? My dad is 92 and does email for Pete's sake. People like your sibling drive me nuts. YOU are the caregiver, therefore, you can set the boundaries. After a hard day of caregiving sometimes one does not need to be on the phone having a conversation. We just need the time to regroup, relax, be with just ourself and gather our thoughts. Sadly most people including family members have no clue what caregiving entails. One compromise would be for YOU to set the day and time for a phone call. Maybe once a week or every other week or once a month. Tell the sibling to read your emails and write down any questions or comments regarding what you've written so you can talk on the phone. Set a timer once you are on the phone. When the timer goes off, excuse yourself and end the conversation. What many of us fail to realize is that we are not powerless...we can set boundaries. So now, you can do it!
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My thought is you are the caregiver and since caregiving is hard and stressful, you as the person doing all the care need to do whatever makes your life easier, emails are a way to make your job/schedules easier. You can email when you have the time to compose your feelings and thoughts and when the person you are taking care of is sleeping, out at day care, or whatever. Sometimes we are so stressed, emotional with what we deal with on a daily basis we just can't go through a blow by blow over the phone, the person not doing the caregiving may be able to do so because they aren't in the mix on a 24/7 basis. So, I'd say it is not very thoughtful about what you do and are doing to fuss about emails. Of course if something needs face to face discussion do it, tape it if you have to. Each email sent will be a record of your interactions even if they don't respond, your next response would be a record of your response to theirs.
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GraceH! I applaud your attempt at communication! I have the same attitude that you have (have you been looking into my life?!) You are doing the best you can and are communicating. I am my mother's guardian and I also use email as it is immediate and gives me time to think as I type. I save EVERY email, just as a reminder of what was going on at the moment. Oh yes, BTW, I have one brother who doesn't check his email, but that's his problem. Keep up the good work.
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Sending emails is your option and what you prefer to do.You can't force emails on anyone.I agree with your sibling (shouldn't be using email at all with family, because for important discussions they should all be in person (or over phone).
Have you thought of the US mail sending a letter.....If you enjoy emails and a keyboard try typing a letter out and sending it by mail with a stamp.Sounds that will solve both your issues and all will be documented.From what I'm reading it sounds as if your trying to catch your sibling on something.
Agree to a video conversation those hold up in court.Works with WILLs
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