It is not uncommon for family members to disagree when decisions must be made about the care or the finances of aging parents. Even when everyone gets along reasonably well, dealing with such difficult issues can be challenging; when families have a long history of tension or hostility, it can be nearly impossible.
Mediators can help. Eldercare mediation provides a venue for all interested parties to come together, share information and opinions, and collaborate in making decisions. In most cases, the elderly family member participates in the process. Mediation preserves the dignity of the elderly family member, and makes sure his or her voice is heard, even though there may be some limited capacity. Furthermore, the mediation process helps the family members communicate, and ensures that everyone has an opportunity to be involved and share in the responsibility of dealing with very complex issues. Mediation can bring families together. In contrast, if the issues are not dealt with, or if the case is taken to court, the divisions among the family members generally increase, and relationships deteriorate.
Mediation may result in increased understanding; informal verbal agreements; or more formal written agreements, signed by all and enforceable in court.
Issues dealt with in eldercare mediation include:
- Living arrangements
- Medical care
- Daily care
- Long-term care planning
- How to handle guardianship or Power of Attorney
- Visitation rights
- Handling day-to-day finances
- Estate planning
- Driving or transportation needs