Making the decision to bring in a neutral outside party to settle family disputes can be the best decision a family makes in regard to the care of an aging family member. Allowing conflict to linger can sever ties, spoil relationships and often leaves the elder without the care they require.
Preparing for family mediation can help things run more smoothly and efficiently once begun. Bringing these things to mediation or getting them to your mediator beforehand is helpful.
- Prepare a list of contacts that may have information that may be useful when making decisions (ie: financial advisors, doctors, care givers).
- Make a list of issues that need to be resolved. You may want to even put this list in order of importance, if possible.
- Get release forms signed if private information will be needed to thoroughly deal with the issues at hand. This may include medical records, financial statements, etc.
- Decide if everyone that needs to be at the mediation is going to be there. If an aging parent has moments of clarity, then he or she may want to participate whereas, on the flip side, if severe dementia is a factor, then perhaps it is best that only the other family members participate. Occasionally, caregivers, financial advisors, attorneys or medical experts may be asked to join in or provide a statement.
- Come prepared to be honest, kind and speak frankly. Understand that it may be an emotional experience, but that a solid and workable action plan is on the horizon.
Discussing issues that may be rather difficult and have caused dissention amongst family members is sensitive and it’s easy to want to avoid them. Elder care mediators are trained to deal with these sort of matters; helping families find peace in conflict; allowing families to remain whole and aging parents to get the care they need and deserve.