As a caregiver, you may have closer contact with the loved one being cared for than the rest of your family does – which means you may be the first to notice changes in your loved one’s behavior or personality that you need to bring to the attention of everyone who is involved in making decisions about their care.

Group conversations, however, can easily get derailed if people get caught up in arguing about surface details.

So, whenever possible, do your best to keep these conversations focused on the deeper concern, not on the more incendiary details.

For example, let’s say you’ve noticed your parent has started to buy copious amounts of unnecessary items off of QVC. The point you want to bring up is not that you’ve noticed your parent has started to buy copious amounts of unnecessary items off of QVC…

…the POINT is the deeper concern that you have started to notice behaviors that are making you concerned that your parent is becoming more easily influenced and compromised in their decision-making which could have ramifications for their long-term financial sustainability if they fall for a scam, or a phishing email or they max out their credit cards, etc.

The point isn’t “are they or are they not buying too much stuff.” The point is that it may be time for someone in the family to keep a closer eye on your parent’s finances.

When a conversation starts to get derailed, phrases you can use are: “What is your concern?” or “Let’s refocus on why this is a concern.” or “We seem to disagree about the particulars, but do we agree on the underlying concern?”

The word “concern” draws attention to what’s UNDERNEATH the surface stuff that people get distracted by or fixated on. The word “concern” can often move conversations out of a spin cycle of opinions about the details and back to what’s at the heart of the matter. Which, of course, saves you – and everyone else – energy.

Experiment with this approach – and if it helps, let me know.

Thank you for being one of the ones who care.

Details about my group coaching program for caregivers are here.