Our Family Our Way

Text: Our Family, Our Way Text: Our Family, Our Way

Our Family, Our Way is a communication and care coordination process developed by Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center to help caregiving families think and talk about caregiving.

When an older adult needs care and support, their family is usually first in line to provide it. However, family caregiving can be both rewarding and challenging. Sometimes one person ends up in a primary caregiving role, taking on the majority of care and support responsibilities, without any real discussion about what works best for everyone involved. Some families need help deciding who will do what, where and when it will happen, and how it will be accomplished—Our Family, Our Way is an innovative process designed to provide that help.

We can all benefit from clear and effective communication around family caregiving. Whether a family has just started thinking about care and support or have been caregiving for a while, communication can make a big difference in quality of life for persons with care needs and caregivers.

Our Family, Our Way provides carefully designed materials to walk your family through the process of holding a family meeting where you can talk about what kinds of care and support are needed and wanted and how you can work together to make it happen. Other resources like videos and tip sheets are also available to help you along the way. There is no cost to use any of the family meeting materials or resources.

Family Meeting Materials

Our Family, Our Way Family Meeting Materials

Below, you’ll find everything you need to hold your family meeting. To get started, review the “Preparing Your Family Meeting Materials” document which explains the materials and provides written instructions for navigating, downloading, and printing the materials. We've also provided a video that walks you through the process of accessing, downloading, and printing the materials.

This is an optional binder cover that can be used as you assemble your family meeting materials: 

Individual Tools
The Individual Tools help each family member think about how they feel about your family’s current care and support arrangement. There are two versions of the Individual Tools - one for the person with care needs, and one for the other family members (caregivers). Both versions contain the same information, but with slightly different wording. Before your family meeting, each family member, including the person with care needs, fills out the version that is appropriate for him or her. Everyone then brings their completed tools to your family meeting.

Family Meeting Guide 
The Family Meeting Guide walks your family step-by-step through the process of holding a family meeting. Each member of your family that will be participating in the family meeting should get a copy of the Family Meeting Guide in advance.

Family Meeting Record
During your family meeting, you will use the Family Meeting Record to write down your agreements and disagreements about the care and support arrangement, create a family care and support plan and a back-up plan, and capture areas that need to be revisited later. Your family only needs one copy of the Family Meeting Record during your meeting.

Helpful Caregiving Resources Booklet 
This booklet is designed to assist you in locating organizations and professionals that may be helpful as you plan your family’s care and support arrangement.

Sample Follow-up Meeting Agenda
Your first family meeting is a great start, but it’s not the end. Your care and support arrangement will need adjustments over time as family members’ needs and circumstances change. This sample meeting agenda may be helpful as you meet again.

Videos for Caregiving Families

What can a family meeting do for us? (click the image below to view video)



How do we hold a family meeting? (click the image below to view video)

Tip Sheets for Caregiving Families

Jennifer Heston-MullinsContact

For questions about the Our Family, Our Way materials or process, please contact Dr. Jennifer Heston-Mullins at
(513) 529-1858 or hestonjl@MiamiOH.edu