Watching an older person struggle to have his/her needs met, due to either a lack of consideration to the elder’s needs or obvious conflicts between family members, is a sign that mediation might be helpful.
Sometimes conflict can arise among family members who live far away or are otherwise removed from the situation. Often, a family may merely need education about available services, so that everyone is on the “same page”. But if, after spending time to reconcile differences, the tensions are not eased, mediation may be very helpful.
A statement such as this can help introduce the concept.
“It appears that differences within the family are impeding your loved one from
getting the care s/he requires. We are aware of a service that could be beneficial
for all of you. Mediators are neutral facilitators who can help to ease tough conversations. Elder mediation provides an opportunity for everyone to share
their point of view, helping families to identify common issues. The elder mediator assists the parties to develop creative solutions together and may even suggest
some ideas you haven’t thought of. “
If you believe mediation can help, encourage the parties to call us. We will gladly consult with the family to determine if mediation can help in their situation. We will explain the mediation process, clarify the importance of all parties being present at the table and make it clear that all conversations remain confidential.
Disputes are easier to resolve the sooner they are recognized and addressed. The welfare of the elders involved often can’t wait to see if the conflict will work itself out on its own. Professionals, such as you, often are the first to recognize that a conflict is brewing. It is better to try to seek resolution before the conflict severely interferes with care.
Most professionals who work with older adults provide frequent education and problem solving and may also help to mediate conflict. But, on occasion, the problem can be more easily addressed with the help of someone who is neutral and not directly involved with one or more parties. This is especially true when family conflict gets in the way of doing your job effectively.
Sometimes, an older adult service/organization may find itself entangled in a conflict involving a client and his/her family. When it becomes difficult (or impossible) to reconcile differences in a timely and effective manner, it may be appropriate to involve a neutral party. Elder mediators, as neutrals, are involved with these disputes with an approach that cannot be handled internally.
ELDEResolutions has extensive knowledge about the administration of elder care, yet we have no alliance or allegiance to any organization or to any family member. Our impartial perspective frees all the parties to be more open so we can facilitate solutions in a collaborative fashion.
Mediation services are charged on an hourly basis. ELDEResolutions finds that when the parties share the cost, the investment in the process is usually greater. It is up to the parties to agree on how the hourly fee is to be split. ELDEResolutions generally recommends that each party pay their proportionate share of the total fee (i.e., with 5 parties, each party is responsible for 20% of the fee.) An organization could be considered one of the parties.
The Agreement to Mediate is signed by the parties before the first session and it outlines how the payment will be shared We ask for payment at each session.
Mediations are ideally located in a setting that supports the communication and comfort of all parties, including the elder. Most retirement facilities are able to provide a conference room or private dining room for the group to meet, limiting the travel requirement for the elder. Other organizations may have a conference room, or other appropriate location to meet.
Often, an older adult’s home can be the setting for a mediation, if an appropriate table/sitting area is available and as long as the setting is acceptable to all participants.
Otherwise, ELDEResolutions can arrange an office setting that is supportive to the needs of the participants. ELDEResolutions welcomes the opportunity to use conference rooms/dining rooms at your office/facility, as appropriate.
ELDEResolutions provides an educational component during mediations, as appropriate. This may involve explaining the difference between assisted living residences, private care/boarding homes, nursing homes and services at home. Concepts such as adult day care or reverse mortgages may be introduced. The purpose of such education is to ensure that the family makes the best, informed choices.
As resolutions are determined by the group, ELDEResolutions assists the parties to decide who will be involved in making decisions, and also who will be accountable for each task. Thus, if the group determines that their loved one could remain at home, ELDEResolutions would provide the parties with a list of recommended resources for in-home care. ELDEResolutions can also help family members determine the appropriate location, price, services, etc, for a facility and will guide them to a short list of facilities that meet the requirements they have agreed on.