Eldercare Mediation: Resolving Family Discord

Family conflict can occur if an older person has not planned ahead and becomes disabled. Adult children frequently disagree about the best way to care for an elderly parent, and they may have concerns about finances. Failing to see eye-to-eye on caregiving issues can introduce confusion and contention among family members, and old family “roles” can be revived, sometimes in unhealthy ways. When families are unable to resolve their differences, it can help to bring in an eldercare mediator.

What is Elder Mediation?

Eldercare mediation or elder mediation is a professionally guided process to engage family members in a productive dialogue to achieve agreement around elder care issues. Each mediation session is personalized based on the circumstances.

Eldercare mediation addresses common issues facing seniors and their adult children, including:

  • Driving safety
  • Living arrangements
  • Home support services
  • Financial management
  • Medication use/misuse
  • Alcohol and drug use/misuse
  • Assistive devices: purchase/use/training
  • Advance health care directives
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Diminished mental capacity and functional abilities
  • End of life wishes
  • Leaving a legacy
  • Family cultural and religious differences

How Does It Work?

Elder mediators first meet with the interested parties individually to determine their concerns and viewpoints. They then determine who needs to be “around the table” for the discussion, and then hold one or more sessions where critical issues are addressed and family members come to a shared agreement about how to proceed. The mediator is impartial and does not place the interests of one party in the mediation above other parties. The goal is to agree upon a course of action before a medical crisis forces decision-making under severe stress.

Elder mediation can cost between $175-$375/hour. Family disputes that are not resolved in mediation frequently result in legal battles costing far more in attorney fees.

Finding a Mediator

As you are searching for an elder mediator in the area, ask about the person’s background, approach, confidentiality, certification, and pricing structure. Personality fit is important too. A few questions up front can be a valuable way to learn about your options before engaging in services.

For more information about finding the right resources for your family needs, Windward Life Care is here to assist. Contact us any time for personalized support and guidance in your life care planning. Thank you to Dr. Craig Grether, Ph.D. of Just Solutions, for contributing to this article. He is a clinical psychologist, neuropsychologist and certified mediator in Carlsbad, California.