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Cathy Cress M.S.W.

Reasons to Hold a Family Meeting for Midlife Siblings and the Aging Family Post the Holidays.

Family meetings can be a brutal tug-of-war.

Over the holidays midlife and aging families can seize up like an open fist. They often end up in counseling over parent care or midlife sibling issues.

This can prompt midlife and aging professionals to suggest a family meeting. If midlife family caregivers , usually middle aged siblings, are having a tough time sharing tasks, a family meeting is an opportunity where professionals can coach family members to divide tasks and delegate responsibilities so no one person is doing it all.

A family meeting to work on forgiveness techniques may have to be held pre this meeting, if midlife siblings are estranged and cannot work as a team .

Family meetings are an excellent way to help families plan for an older person’s disabilities, manage incapacity, or solve a crisis with an older person, including decisions such as whether a person be put on life support or move out of his or her home of many years because upkeep is a problem.

They are a great way to do general problem solving with a family. It is inevitable that when you arrange a family meeting in which hard decisions must be made ,that adult children revert back to their childhood personas and dredge up old hurts and angers ,while trying to solving here-and-now problems.

Who Should Moderate a Family Meeting?

A seasoned counselor can moderate the meeting if she or he has skills and experience in mediation. Five years of experience with dysfunctional families is a good benchmark to assess whether you can mediate a family meeting with a midlife or aging family in crisis. If you are licensed clinical social worker with a background in aging or mediation and experience with dysfunctional families you are the perfect professional.

Why? Family meetings with midlife siblings - can be a brutal tug-of-war.


About the Author

Cathy Cress, M.S.W., holds a degree in Aging from U.C. Berkeley. She is the coauthor of Mom Loves You Best, Forgiving and Forging Sibling Relationships.