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Supporting Our Caregivers

Getting Through the Holidays When Caregiving Topics Come Up

When you’re the chief executive, it makes sense for your family members who are not involved with the day-to-day details of caring for your shared loved one to be your Board of Directors — for better or for worse.

Every holiday season since we launched caregiver.com, we have run an educational series called the “Caregiver Board of Directors’ Meetings.” The goal of the series is to provide a framework to help organize family meetings during our holiday get-togethers to discuss topics relevant to the care of your loved one in the coming year.

Focus on good moments

Spend time remembering shared good moments, preferably over a cup of your favorite grog or even lemonade. While more serious topics can include a discussion of your loved one’s ability to drive, creating the financial/legal instruments needed to protect your loved one’s assets and end-of-life wishes, it’s important to also spend time with happier topics and memories.

Active listening

Employ active listening techniques by concentrating on the point being made and not interrupting. Then confirm your mutual understanding of what was said before responding. Using these techniques not only will help you understand everyone’s points better, but also facilitate an easier conversation.

Use your indoor voice

Yelling is never a good communication device unless you are falling out of a plane or lost on a mountain top.

Be sincere

A well-timed hug or a well-meant thank you can go many miles toward mutual understanding. Be sincere, be understanding and be open to everyone’s opinion. At the end of the day, your “Board of Directors” is still your family.

Make time to talk

Most of all, make the time to hold these meetings. After all, the goal of all family members should be the same: providing the best possible care for your loved ones. In the long run, that can be the best peace-keeping tool at your disposal.

Gary Edward Barg is founder and editor-in-chief of Today’s Caregiver magazine and caregiver.com. He Is also the author of the books “The Fearless Caregiver” and “Caregiving Ties that Bind” and host of over 200 Fearless Caregiver conferences.

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