Elder Mediation Defined
Elder mediation is a way for older parents, their adult children, and other family members to voluntarily resolve disagreements with the help of a qualified, neutral third party.
Such disputes may address end of life situational issues, change of residence, healthcare, safety, and other intergenerational issues. A skilled elder mediator creates an atmosphere of safety and respect, listens deeply to each participant’s interests and concerns, and encourages them to hear and understand each other. Tough Conversations identifies points of agreement and helps the parties discover one or more mutually acceptable solutions.
Elder mediation differs from other mediation practices in that it is:
Multi-party: unlike divorce and most civil and commercial cases which may involve only two parties, elder mediation typically involves older parents, adult children, and other family members who each have an interest in the matter.
Multi-issue: most elder cases address not just one issue, e.g., who should be named in a will, or who should care for an ailing older adult, but a combination of unresolved issues that may date back years, even decades.
Multi-session: The vast majority of cases require several sessions before a mutually acceptable agreement is reached.
A future goal by the parties is to restore and enhance family unity.
Elder mediation is similar to other mediation forms in that it is:
Confidential: All conversational information and correspondence involving the mediator and the parties are confidential.
Mediators do not provide legal advice: Whether they are lawyers or not, mediators do not proffer legal advice. Usually they suggest that parties consult with an attorney specializing in the field, be it family, elder, civil, landlord/tenant, or probate law, or with other experts such as financial planners.