Elder Care Mediation

Problems that arise within a family can be highly stressful situations. The emotional bonds and long shared history among family members are an added factor to an already stressful event.

When families have to make difficult decisions about an elderly family member, decisions such as issues related to safety, living arrangements, financial, and end-of-life directives, to name just a few, family members may experience a number of mixed emotions. Some of the emotions may be fear, anger, guilt, and/or sadness; and each of these emotions can interfere with a person's ability to think clearly and communicate effectively. This can result in misunderstandings, disagreements, and hurt feelings. 

When miscommunication and hurt feelings occur, the level of stress for the entire family increases, and the likelihood of establishing a resolution decreases. The disagreement can spiral out of control and become an unmanageable conflict. Some families divide and the unresolved conflict may even become a legal battle, which may further complicate the problem. Below is a list of reasons for an elder and/or their family to seek elder mediation.

Elder mediation empowers families to resolve their conflict without litigation or arbitration. Why allow the courts to make the decision? Many families have found more satisfaction in resolving their disagreements through early mediation rather than relying on the court system to settle their dispute.

  • Elder mediation allows the elder and his or her family members an opportunity to speak and be heard, to work through difficult decision-making, and to express one's feelings in a respectable manner.
  • Elder mediation involves a neutral third-party who encourages and facilitates communication among family members in order to guide families towards a resolution. The communication may be either indirect or direct, depending on the comfort and desire of family or family members. Most often emotions are involved in disagreements and when people begin to discuss the issue causing disagreement, emotions often overrun a person's ability to remain focused, effecting communication and perception of the issue. The mediation process allows family members to move beyond the emotional impasse.
  • Elder mediation utilises a process that provides a safe environment for all family members to speak openly and honestly. The presence or involvement of an experienced and specialised mediator increases the chance for improved communication and resolution within the family.
  • Elder mediation provides an opportunity for each family member to gain a different perspective of the issue, which can ultimately assist in establishing a resolution.

Elder mediation encourages and promotes respect and dignity of all members involved. At times, solutions may be established that will not please all participants fully; however many participants gain a better understanding of the issue, gain respect from others, and improve self-respect for being involved in the solution rather than just contributing to the problem. The mediation process can be very empowering for each participant.

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