Sudden changes in a loved one’s health sometimes make it necessary for the person to receive care, but the care recipient is incapable of making sound decisions all on their own. In that case, family members can find themselves participating in decision-making, and those so tasked often feel stressed and overwhelmed by the responsibility. There is a way to avoid these emotional pitfalls, and it involves a solution-focused approach:

Book a date and time with me for your FREE 15 minute Get Acquainted Call.

  1. Gather the information about the loved one’s condition. Work with healthcare professionals to assess the care recipient’s capabilities and needs across various domains, including safety and socialization as well as health.
  2. When the care recipient is capable of understanding that changes need to be made, but is reluctant or fearful of it, acknowledge that their reaction is understandable and is met with empathy, respect, and help to navigate it.
  3. If the care recipient is able to participate to some degree in decision-making, give them the opportunity to do so. Keep the conversation simple and not so complicated that it confuses the issue. When possible, present multiple choices surrounding necessary change. Including the care recipient in any way helps them to feel that they still have some autonomy and increases their acceptance of change.
  4. When all of the decisions must fall to family members, meet face-to-face or via video conference and discuss the issue(s) and recommendations of healthcare providers, keeping the conversation as simple as possible. Allow each family member to share thoughts, concerns and opinions, but stay focused on the care recipient’s needs and don’t dwell on past family conflicts.
    By implementing these four tips, families can engage in positive dialogue, identify solutions, and improve the quality of life for their loved one.

In challenging situations where past family conflicts hinder productive discussion, seeking professional guidance may be beneficial. As a Clinical Gerontologist, Kathy Faenzi facilitates family meetings providing a supportive environment for objective discussion and decision-making.

Kathy Faenzi PhotoKathy C. Faenzi MA is a Clinical Gerontologist and Senior Care Consultant based in San Mateo, CA.

JC Spicer, M.Ed. is a Freelance Social Science Writer and Developmental Editor based in the U.K.