In Mediation, trained neutrals provide an informal but structured setting for participants to negotiate issues in situations where individuals in the group have both common interests and differing ideas about what actions should be taken.
Mediators help participants to:
- Identify the information that the group needs to share to make an informed decision
- Identify the relevant issues which participants agree upon
- Negotiate the issues that they don’t agree upon
Mediation is both confidential and voluntary.
In Elder Mediation, family members come together to discuss the issues the family is facing due to the elder’s life transitions and to negotiate a family plan for addressing those issues. Where appropriate, the elder participates. Mediators help the family to generate options for resolving the transitional issues. Where there is a history of conflict among family members that has impeded reaching family agreements, mediators help the family to establish practical ground rules that give each family member a chance to be heard and to be understood in a non-critical, respectful setting. Understanding both individual needs and the needs of the family as a whole can be the basis for making sound decisions to address transition issues, to support positive family interaction and to avoid costly court room battles in the future.
Convening Family Members
For some families, the knowledge that there are professionals who are trained to help them address issues of an aging parent will be a sufficient motivation to participate in mediation. For other families, there may be a history of hard feelings, distrust or long-simmering grudges that have been exacerbated by transitions in the elder’s life; families with this type of history can find it particularly difficult to come together to address the needs of the parent and the family as a whole. We work with individuals separately, in confidential sessions, and with the family as a group to address any issues that have historically impeded them from acting cohesively. We are trained to give families with a history of conflict new tools to move forward together in the process of helping the elder in transition.