Elder Mediation

ABC World News recently ran a story about elder mediation, “Love, Care and the Inevitable Arguments: Mediators Can Provide a Welcome Rational Approach to Realities of Elder Care.” (You can read about the story at www.abcnews.go.com.) The story — even its title — captured some of the key points about using mediation in this context. The challenges really are about love, care, and reality checks.

The effect of family dynamics that have developed over decades, or that became frozen in time before anyone moved out of the family home, are impossible to ignore. But for some families, even acknowledging the existence of these family dynamics is difficult. Opinions voiced and actions taken are viewed by some through a lens that others don’t share.

The mediation process can help families address necessary decisions with sensitivity and with recognition of the different and perhaps contradictory perspectives of adult children (and their own families), an aging parent, a spouse of the parent (who may or may not have raised these now adult children), and others with a genuine concern for the aging parent’s well-being. The privacy and flexibility of mediation can foster discussions of difficult topics with as little pain as possible.

Perhaps most valuable, a mediation process can lead to creative solutions to vexing problems. Although many families face similar issues, each family must deal with its own set of circumstances. Through mediation, unique problems can be addressed with unique solutions.

Posted in Conflict Resolution in the News, Elder Mediation, Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

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