The Wall Street Journal, online, recently ran an article by Tom Lauricella titled “Mediating Elder-Care Disputes.” The article discussed the growing popularity of elder mediation, or elder care mediation, as a method to help families manage and prevent conflicts over challenging decisions involving elderly parents and other loved ones.
As Mr. Lauricella points out, elder mediation can be especially helpful when family members are spread out geographically. Agreements worked out with the help of a mediator can create a plan for family members to follow that eases communication and prevents misunderstandings. These misunderstandings can be triggered easily if old tensions or hurts are still held by family members.
Although disputes that are mediated between strangers usually involve past conflicts that need a permanent and final resolution, these conflicts among family members are often mediated to prevent or minimize current and future disputes. In the article, Forrest (Woody) Mosten, a veteran Los Angeles attorney and mediator, notes one of mediation’s great advantages in this context. Mediation makes it possible to try out possible solutions and find the one that best fits the particular situation, and even allows the family to make changes that they can agree are necessary as conditions change.