As you notice changes in your loved one, it may become clear that a family conversation is necessary. But it can be difficult to know where to begin, let alone how to conduct a productive meeting that will benefit your senior loved one.

In our upcoming webinar, Senior Living LIVE! Benefits of a Family Meeting and How to Organize a Meaningful One, Heidi Schnapp, MA, CMC, CDP and Co-Founder of LMR Elder Care, LLC, will help us recognize the warning signs or changes that may determine a need for an organized meeting, and share ideas for families to have an open, honest, and meaningful conversation. 

See a preview for the webinar above, and then visit ArborCompany.com/FamilyMeeting to see the full webinar!

Video Transcript

- Hello everybody, and welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. As always, I hope you are having a fantastic day today. Well, we have an excellent webinar coming up July 21st at 3:00 PM Eastern time about a subject we haven't devoted a lot of time to, actually it's hard to believe but it's how do I identify when it's time to have a family meeting and discussion with a senior loved one who needs a little bit of extra care and how to conduct that meeting in a way that will help and not hinder that individual. Heidi Schnapp, co-founder of LMR Elder Care, LLC is with me to preview some of the tips and tricks she will share in her webinar presentation. Heidi, how are you today?

- I'm good, thanks, thanks for having me.

- Absolutely, we're so glad you could be with us today and certainly glad, and we feel fortunate for our viewers that you'll get to join us for a full webinar where you will be able to answer some questions. I know that this is a topic that usually when we talk about other subjects, this always tends to come up. So this is why I'm so glad we have this webinar. Before we start diving into that, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

- Sure. So first of all, our company LMR Elder Care was founded in 2006. And we're here so that our clients and our loved ones can rely on us when they need support, when they need guidance, advocacy and solutions for themselves and their loved ones. Lisa, my partner and I are both professional problem solvers. Lisa, my partner is a licensed attorney and a board certified case manager. And we are both advanced professional members of the Aging Life Care Association, which is our professional organization. And just a little tidbit of information is that in July of 2021, Lisa started her volunteering of a four year board position as a commissioner with the Commission for Case Management Certification, the CCMC. I on the other hand hold a master's degree in counseling. I'm a Certified Care Manager, CMC, a certified dementia practitioner, and like I said, an advanced professional with the Aging Life Care Association. And we help our families navigate the elder care maze by guiding and coaching them toward informed decisions to maintain dignity and equality of life.

- Yeah, that's the best we could hope for everyone. And your credentials are wonderful on both ends. So excited again to have you here on this particular topic. So we talk about your clients, right? So when they come to you for a little bit of help on this subject, having a productive meeting to help a senior loved one with their current and future needs, what are you evaluating during that time in each situation to create a productive outcome?

- So, first of all, we'd like to have a direct conversation and that includes getting to know the person and the situation. And we like to utilize a seven step model for decision making. And it's important to have some structure. This includes gathering the pertinent information, asking questions about the person's life, their social, legal, financial, medical, insurance, situation and this all helps to assess the needs. And in order to make an assessment, we'd like to come up with a meeting goal, and is that goal realistic? And we also believe in setting expectations, not only for family meetings, but for future family meetings and what to be expected.

- Great. Yeah, I think that's a great first step really and people should know, hey, we're gonna have to open up the book on your life a little bit to to be able to get you where you need to go and in the best place possible or for a loved one. So you're gonna have to come on with that information and don't hold back because they're only gonna, it's gonna be a detriment to you, right?

- Exactly.

- Yeah.

- Exactly. And so, you know, that leads into, it's really up to expectations and goals, active listening, actively learning about the family, about not only the older adult, but the different players in the family, the adult children and providing support, and we provide a lot of education. We may think of things that the family hasn't thought about. And we like to ask ourselves what are some of the observable signs and behaviors, and how does this compare to others? And then lastly, big part of our job is managing resistance, resistance from the older adult, from the parent and resistance from one or several of the siblings or adult children. And that comes up an awful lot.

- Yeah, so really diving into some of the issues that you guys seem to face when these individuals come to you for a little bit of help, it's always good to know what are people struggling with and how are you able to help them? So.

- Exactly.

- Great answer. So how do you determine who to involve in the process? Right, it can't be everybody, I guess.

- So it depends on who reaches out to us. If it's the older adult themselves, then we can ask them who they would like involved. Most of the time, it's one or several of the adult children. And sometimes we'll have a family meeting with the parent and sometimes we'll have a family meeting first without the parent. And it's all to make sure that everyone's on the same page. Every family has their stuff, every family has their history and it's to try to get an assessment of really what's going on. And it's usually the adult children who are at losses as far as what to do next and how can we do this? And every situation is so different that we handle this on a case to case basis. And a lot of it is just from experience and working with so many families over the years.

- Yeah. And as you're talking, it's pretty clear that the best outcomes happen with the best pre-planning, right, or planning, just planning ahead in general, which one would expect in a situation like this or opening up the books on somebody's life, to try to plan for the best outcome. So what are some of the first steps that someone watching today can take to net that great outcome?

- So, and what we'll talk about more during the seminar is really talking about who should attend the meeting, who can attend a meeting, preparing an agenda, which is so important, both for our end and for the family's end. A lot of times we'll ask for the family to send a narrative on what they think is going on from the different perspectives, and to synthesize through that, what are some of the observable behaviors, some of the diagnoses, anything that is shareable with us. And we like to include if appropriate, what are the advanced directives? How do they read? What does the older adult, what does this person want? Who is the power of attorney? Who are the decision makers? Is there long term care insurance? And then the education comes from that. And it's really asking the right questions to able to balance the risks with the appropriate amount of independence. We then like to come up with what are the next steps at the end of a meeting. And so we'll get into the crux of that when we meet for the seminar.

- Yeah, perfect. And speaking of that, you will be available to answer questions towards the end of your seminar, we'll open it up for Q&A and that's the beauty of why we do all this. It allows people to be able to interact with professionals like yourself. And there's no pressure, you can remain anonymous when you ask these questions. Now, if someone wants to get in contact with you now, they can't wait, they say, we've got a situation right now, we want her help. How can they get in touch with you and your company?

- So you can get in touch with us in a couple of different ways. One is by going to our website, which is lmreldercare.com. A second way is to call us, 973-533-0839. And the third way is to email us at hello@lmreldercare.com. Lastly, you can also go to the website for the Aging Life Care Association, which is aginglifecare.org. And you can either put in our names, the name of our company or the area that you live in. And Lisa and I do work both nationally and internationally with families. One of the positives that have come out of the last couple of years are Zoom meetings and how effective they can be.

- Like today, where we get to do this preview with you, and Heidi, we do thank you so much for taking the time today to be with us for this preview, and of course for the time that you'll give our viewers for the webinar.

- Thank you. Thank you for having me, and I look forward to seeing everybody.

- Yeah, the webinar is entitled, "The benefits of a family meeting and how to organize a meaningful one". Heidi, everybody watching, you can go over to www.seniorlivinglive.com to RSVP. And we see you all again, at 3:00 PM, July 21st.

 

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