How do you put together a family meeting and what are your experiences with this?


I'm thinking of doing a family meeting with sibs and mom in the next week about caretaking for mom. She is currently living with me and I am shouldering most of the responsibilities associated with her care. Anyone done this before? How did it go? Sibs aren't that involved so I don't know how it will go. I want to look them in the eye and tell them I can't keep doing it all, well most of it, and I need more help and try to get the situation more organized and try to get them to be held more responsible. Worth a shot I guess. What are your experiences?

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Or, the other thing is...if you weren't there for your Dad, he could have passed sooner.
You cared, you gave of yourself to Dad while he needed you.
Take heart......
Helpful Answer (1)

Dear Annabelle,

Sorry to hear you are bearing the burden of caring for your mother. It is totally understandable to want more assistance from your siblings. I can share two experiences.

My mother and her siblings had a meeting about my grandmother. And in the end no one wanted to give up their time or money to take care of her. After her last hospital visit they forced her into a nursing home. She has been there for almost 3 years and seems to have adjusted.

My second experience is my own. I am one of 4 and I had to bear the responsibility. I tried to get my siblings to help out too. We had a meeting and basically the same thing happened. No one was willing to give more time or money or effort into caring for my father. I had to lower my expectations or put my father into a nursing home. He ended up staying at home till he passed. But I regret this because I was so consumer with anger and resentment the last year of his life. I regret that maybe if had been firmer or aggressive about his care, he might still be alive.

I know its hard on you and I guess there are no easy answers. Never hurts to try my friend, I wish you the best. Take care of yourself the best you can as well.
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BarbBrooklyn - Nope and very rarely if at all.
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This is a tough one cause I think if it is in your heart to be caring that way you will do it automatically. If a family meeting has to be the only way to get everyone on board it probably won't work. Having said that it's definitely worth a try.
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Zenzen, do they visit her as well?
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Been there, done that with my family. If they're not helping now they never will. But you need help and you need to take care of yourself too. I tried taking care of my mother myself and almost collapsed. Saw myself in the mirror and didn't recognize myself. Looked as if I had aged 10 years in 10 months.

My sister, who lives in another state, and I did the family meeting thing by phone with other family members. It was a disaster. Everyone thought they should have control of my mother's money. Imagine that. My sister and I (we both have durable POA) had to shut everyone down as we have been taking care of her affairs for years at her request. As a result everybody (except my sister and I) is mad, LOL!

The other family members have said to me "It's not my responsibility, she's not my mother." My mother is their grandmother and great grandmother. The one who wiped all of our behinds.

I could no longer do it alone or else I was going to get sick and die. This has happened to caregivers who end up dying taking care of a loved one. I found a very good assisted living facility close to me where my mom is in memory care. They get three, three course meals per day, laundry is done, meds administered and room is cleaned. There's an enclosed area outside that is locked, well manicured and she can't wander off. She goes out there whenever she wants. I go once to twice per week spending the day with her and take her on outings. She needed 24 hour supervision and I just could not continue doing it by myself. I was practically on my knees dragging myself around I was so exhausted and looked a hot mess.

The facility has taken over all of that for me and I thank God for them. I went back to being a daughter instead of total caregiver. I have my life back and mom is happy, safe and secure. I do still shower her, lotion her down real good with mini massage, dress her then we settle back for a good movie on HBO. This is after sitting outside for a while calling her friends and family members back home and laughing. On outings we go to get her hair cut then to her favorite Chinese buffet restaurant for dinner. We have a good time.

No, I still do not have help from family members here. According to them it's not their responsibility and she's not their mother. They're not talking to me. Imagine that.
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The NH my mom was at held a family meeting, her included. They told my brother, mother and me that she was too well to stay there. They were wrong, in  fact dead wrong. Less than 48 hours later and died.
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Wow, I wish you the very best of luck with this. I have been trying for 10 years to get my siblings to have a 'sit down and talk' kind of meeting. They simply will not come. To my home, to a restaurant, they just, well, won't.
Mother lives with youngest brother. It's been OK, but she needs MUCH more help than she gets. I try and try to get the MIA sibs on board and am met with brick walls and complete deafness. My older sister actually told me "When she dies, call me, other than that, I'll throw money at anything but I will NOT DO anything." Gotta admire her spunk, while hating the attitude that somehow this will just be cared for.

IF you can get all the sibs in one spot, take notes!! Make sure you are all on one page about mom's care, as best you can. We've just sort of hashed our way through our mother's care, and it's been ok. 3 of 5 sibs are completely MIA, unless you practically scream at them. You can't make people care--yes, I am completely jaded about my siblings lack of help. None of us has a great relationship with mother, so that doesn't help anything.

Make sure you are crystal clear with them: If you are taking over, then you are taking a LOT of responsibilities on yourself. Make copious notes, be totally upfront with the sibs and if there are some who won't get involved, do not waste a minute trying to guilt them to being involved.

I make quick decisions and move fast. My sibs would wait for 6-8 weeks to reply to a simple email. Letting mother have too long to contemplate something means that she will be easily swayed into NOT accepting help, seeing a specialist, whatever.

Just--well, good luck with this. Hope for the best, but expect some unpleasant surprises.
Helpful Answer (4)

Hi Annabelle,
I think a meeting is a good idea. Especially if Mom is not able to return to her home 500 miles away. Considering your strained relationship with your bro and sis you are one gutsy gal wanting to have a sit down with them. But, do expect them to have their own ideas regarding Moms care that you might not agree with. Especially if in the long run it's best for Mom AND gets Mom out of your house!

I agree with the suggestions above. I want to add...If Mom is not returning to her home or apartment 500 miles away, sell or get rid of it. Someone is paying those expenses and in my opinion those funds would be better spent in Mom's care where Mom is now.

My experience with talking to my sibling...uggghhh. My sibling had/has major physical and emotional problems. There was just not much help from her other than rallying me on to do what I needed to.

Me or my sibling never had our Mom under our roof. That would have been a flaming disaster of Biblical type.

Good Luck. I know you need relief.
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Write down everything that you want to bring up.
Have several solutions in mind for each of the problems that you have.
If the meeting gets "heated" take a break.
I also suggest that you do not try to solve all the problems at once.
If you think it will help email an outline of items you want to discuss.
Be open to others suggestions.
Have you researched other ways to help you?
VA if she is eligible.
Medicaid if that is a possibility get your facts ready, what needs to be done to qualify.
Do you have an Elder Lawyer to help with things?
Does Mom have advanced directives? POLST (Physicians Order for Life Sustaining Treatment) it is much more than a DNR.
Is assisted living a possibility? or can you get help in?
Do not try to take care of all this in the first meeting.
Set up a second for 2 to 4 weeks.
If possible give each sibling a research project.
One could take the Medicaid info
One could take finding an Elder Law Attorney

Have sandwiches and snacks so you can also have a bit of social time.
Set a time limit for the meeting. If you don't get everything done..realize that you will NEVER get EVERYTHING done.
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