What is Elder Mediation and how might our family benefit from it?

As each and every one of us ages, our roles in our family change. Many children will find themselves in a care-taker position when it comes to their aging parents. Siblings don’t always agree as to what the care of an aging parent should and could look like and all too often squabbles arise in this regard. Mediation can provide family members, including the aging parent if possible, with an open, but private forum that offers solutions to important end-of-life plans.

The goal of mediation is to restore or maintain harmony amongst family members whose basic purpose, to see that the elderly family member will receive the best possible care, is creating undue disagreements. Mediators facilitate a purposeful conversation where all involved are encouraged to express their concerns and interests.

Mediation may include, but is not limited to, the children or other suitable relatives, caregivers, lawyers, medical or geriatric care providers, or anyone else that can offer valid input in regard to the situation facing the family. Mediation is private and confidential. The mediator’s role is to serve as a neutral party, keeping peace amongst all involved, while sorting out and possibly introducing new alternatives that will bring the family to a suitable outcome. The process of mediation is respectful, safe and civilized and can be done in an office or home setting. Through mediation, options can be discussed, information gathered and agreements and action plans implemented.

In the end, compromises can be reached, which can maintain a peaceable family tone and in some cases, can even restore family relationships. Mediation generally makes costly legal proceedings unnecessary.

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