When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, the family can be absolutely knocked off their moorings – their lives profoundly altered. It is therefore common for spouses, partners, children and other family members to have a very difficult time absorbing, processing and discussing this new news.
What to do now?
A lack of information, knowledge and resources may compromise the ability of a family facing into a diagnosis of dementia to make initial decisions, or determine next steps. The existence of intra-family conflict or other challenging dynamics may make conversations – let alone sound choices – difficult without outside assistance.
Or, it may simply be that everyone has been thrown off center by this diagnosis. All that may be needed is some gentle and supportive guidance to help the family get on the right track again.
What is family facilitation?
As a family facilitator, I create a safe and confidential space where family members can engage in difficult conversations and be transparent about their deepest fears and anxieties, as well as their feelings, needs and hopes . . .
- In a way that all present feel heard
- Without any judgment or criticism
- So that they can be empowered to move towards solutions and next steps that meet the interests of their loved one, as well as their own needs.
When I sit with family members, my focus is on:
- Normalizing sadness, fear, anger, anxiety or guilt
- Assisting them in gaining access to resources and support
- Encouraging openness to hope, growth, joy and discovery
- Empowering the family to make decisions and move forward with grace and integrity, by coming from a place of peace and clarity, rather than from fear and anxiety.
In person is best. If that is not feasible, Skype is an option.
I will work with family members to create a facilitation plan that works best for everyone. And we’ll always review and adjust as circumstances dictate.