The Uses of Elder Mediation
Significant changes and transitions come with aging. Elder mediation can help resolve intergenerational family differences that involve an older adult such as:
Care Giving: Resolve differences among family members regarding how each will provide care for an aging (and possibly ill) parent or relative.
Estate Planning and Administration: Prevent will and trust contests by consulting with estate planners and their clients in the planning stage of how to handle issues that may arise from:
(1) the choice of personal representatives
(2) second families and expectations of natural and stepchildren
(3) unequal distributions among siblings
(4) disposition of vacation property and other potentially sensitive situations
Elder Mediation can facilitate family conversations around these matters while testators are alive and competent. Where these issues arise after a decedent’s death, we can help resolve them without the lasting bitterness that may result from a trial.
Guardianship: Where family members disagree, elder mediation can help them discuss and resolve:
(1) Whether a family member requires a guardian or conservator
(2) If so, who should that person be
(3) Any desired limitations on the guardian’s or conservator’s powers
(4) Procedures for guardian/conservator to share information with other family members: how, when, and what information will be shared
Health Care: Mediate disputes over the handling of medical questions, finding appropriate practitioners, and location of treatment and care facilities/homes.
Housing and Living Arrangements: What happens when siblings disagree on where an older adult parent should live? Or, what to do if an older adult wishes to live in his/her own home where there are safety issues? How to determine who will advocate on behalf of an older adult if she or he moves into an assisted living or nursing home?
Finances and Insurance: Who should have the parent’s Power of Attorney authority and when and how should be invoked.
End-of-life Planning and Decision-making: How to make decisions about living wills, DNRs, and health care proxy issues in a way that respects the elder’s dignity and wishes.
Elder mediators advocate for mutual respect and encourage all participants to understand other participants’ perspectives on an issue. Elder mediation can promote healing and prevent further family tension, divisions, estrangement, or the need for litigation.