Aging Seniors Face Major Transitions
Aging seniors face major transitions, and their family dynamic needs to evolve with the changing realities. Increasingly, families are choosing mediation as a private, inexpensive forum for making decisions about sensitive issues.
In mediation, family members, the senior and often peripherally involved individuals like caregivers have a venue for expressing their interests and concerns during a productive and directed conversation. The parties agree to try to forge their own agreement. A neutral third party (the mediator) assists the parties in clarifying the issues, creating and evaluating options and choosing the best solution for moving forward. After a successful mediation, the parties leave with not only an agreement but communication strategies they can employ in addressing future issues that may arise.
Elder-Centered Mediations are ideal for addressing the following issues:
- Residence options (nursing homes, assisted living, in-home care
- Medical decisions
- Care giving (division of duties, level of care needed, relief for caregivers, caregiver burnout)
- Car Keys: driving and transportation issues
- Establishing decision making processes, preferably with the Elder’s participation
- Family communication, family members’ roles and responsibilities
- Financial decisions
- Estate planning
- Powers of Attorney and avoiding guardianship
- End of life and emergency decisions (Advanced Directives, funeral planning, organ donation, appointments of health care representatives)
Why Mediate Conflicts Involving Seniors?
Elder Mediation is Private
Sensitive issues are kept within the family.
Mediation Allows for Flexibility and Accommodates Each Family’s Needs
We address issues that affect you, and seek solutions that work for everyone involved. We can hold the mediation at a place and time convenient for all parties, particularly the elder. We can even mediate in your home if the elder wants to participate but accessibility is problematic.
Mediated Agreements Last
When people in conflict participate in the process and agree to the terms, rather than having them inposed by a judge or other decision maker, they are more likely to abide by the agreement in the future. and even more significantly, participants are oftern able to use communication techniques they learn in mediation to resolve future conflicts.
Mediation Offers a Respectful Way to Create a Win-Win Outcome,
and Often Produces Feelings of Competency and Integrity
After Mediation, Relationships are More Likely to be Preserved than if the
Parties go to Court or if One Party Makes a Unilateral Decision
Mediation is an Inexpensive, Risk-Free First Resort
Elder-Care Mediators Help Resolve Feuds
The elderly man became increasingly alarmed as the battles among his five grown children grew acrimonious. His two daughters, worried that he wasn’t taking proper care of himself, wanted him to move to a retirement community. His three sons balked, insisting that he was managing fine in his own home.
Should You Hire an ‘Elder Mediator’?
These days, a growing number of families are hiring elder mediators to help them resolve disputes that relate to the care of older adults or their finances. As an alternative to litigation, mediation can be cheaper.
The Ties That Blind
It’s tough enough making decisions about elderly parents. What if you don’t like the siblings you have to agree with? Even among siblings with good relationships, old hurts, old patterns, old disagreements can erupt again, disguised as fights over whether Dad really needs a nursing home or how to divide up the Royal Doulton figurines.
When to Call an Elder Mediator
A small but growing number of mediators (people who help resolve disputes, typically outside a courtroom) now specialize in elder affairs. They help families work through concerns — and fights — involving care giving, inheritance, living arrangements, estate planning and related issues.
Mediators Help Families With Tough Choices of Aging
They are disputes that can split apart families: Mom’s left a pot on the stove again, so her daughters want her to give up her house. Dad’s got more scrapes on his car, so his kids want to take away the car keys.