If family members disagree about a loved one's needs or how to best respond to needs, relationships can be strained, important decisions postponed, and leave everyone involved feeling angry, guilty, or both. Elder mediation is a cooperative process in which a professionally trained elder mediator helps facilitate discussions to assist your family find reasonable solutions together. This step requires all parties are:
· Willing to participate in mediation;
· Willing to reach an agreement that works for other parties, as well as themselves; and
· Have the ability, with help, to participate in the conversation – to say what is true for them and what they need, and to try to understand the other parties.
The benefits of elder mediation are many, including:
· Understanding parents’ plans or intentions
· Deeper understanding of other parties’ viewpoint
· Input from all sides regarding life or care plan
· Avoids litigation when litigation would destroy important relationships
· Usually much less expensive and parties equally share the cost
· Confidentiality is preserved; nothing shared during mediation can be used or reported during litigation
The role of the Mediator is:
· To assist, facilitate, and guide the negotiation to explore some options for agreement that may be agreeable to both sides.
The role of the Mediator is not:
· To judge, arbitrate, fact-find, make decisions, or give legal advice.
Trinity Advocacy Group received its mediation certification from Northwestern University and has over 20 years of advocacy experience for older adults and their families.