Elder Care Mediation

When it comes to agreeing on the best care for an aging loved one, many family members run into squabbles and divisions. The youngest daughter thinks Mom needs in-home care, but her older brothers think it’s time for assisted living. One sibling wants to oversee Dad’s finances, while the other siblings want to hire a professional. Disagreements over common elder issues include living arrangements, care providers, healthcare decisions, finances and legal matters.

Fortunately, many families who reach an impasse with elder care decisions are now turning to elder care mediation to help resolve disputes and preserve family relationships. A mediator is a third-party professional trained in conflict resolution, such as a mediation specialist, attorney or therapist. A mediator helps diffuse the clash and guides families through a process of finding common ground and respectful solutions to the difficult issues of caring for an aging relative.

Mediation does not involve the court system, so it’s typically more affordable and takes less time. Mediation is not counseling, but does involve all parties sharing their perspective, opinions and even emotions. One of the main goals is universal agreement on the best care possible for the senior family member. 

Because the aging loved one at the center of the family dispute often just wants to keep the peace at the expense of sharing true feelings, it may depend on whether to invite the senior to take part in the mediation session(s). Mediation also can involve the participation of an elder law attorney, geriatric care manager, financial planner and others who can add their expertise to the conversations.

To find a mediator in your area:

  • Visit Mediate.com or the National Eldercare Mediator Network.
  • Call an elder law attorney in your locality and ask for a referral.
  • Ask a librarian to help research mediators in your region.

Have you encountered any challenges with your siblings when an aging loved one became ill?

4 Comments

  1. James November 15, 2012 04:13 AM

    Hmm, I’ve never thought of having a mediator for these kinds of situations. I guess, times have passed where there is a mutual understanding or brothers and sisters are on the same wavelength when it comes to taking care of their aging parents.

  2. Cara Kenien December 09, 2012 03:36 PM

    This is such a great blog post! I really appreciate the idea of bringing in a mediator because oftentimes family members have the best intentions but need support with navigating difficult family dynamics that surround the decision making process. A mediator could be the perfect person to help the family move forward. Perhaps a mediator could help the family weed out any bad intentions that might exist, which may help prevent elder abuse from happening. Just a thought. Thank you so much for this post!

  3. Dana Caffrey December 17, 2012 07:57 AM

    Here in the Philippines, elderlies are very seldomly brought to senior home care. AS much as possible, they stayed on the house of their children, Those who are brought to the senior homes are those who really don't have family or were really abandoned.

  4. Wilma H January 18, 2013 10:33 AM

    For me, elder care mediation is a great idea especially for big families. This is helpful in keeping things in order while choosing what type of care is best for your loved one. Having disagreements and other issues is not healthy particularly on the part of the elderly. This might cause stress and ill feelings for the elderly. It's best to talk this over with someone who knows how to resolve issues regarding living arrangements, care providers, finances and even legal matters. In this way, the family can choose what's really best for their loved one by exploring their options first. What I really like about this mediation is that it's not costly and families don't need to go to court in order to fix this type of elder care issue.

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