Elder Mediation and Shared Family Decision Making is an emerging specialty for professional mediators. The process is mediation that is conducted in order to help seniors and their adult children resolve conflicts regarding:
- Care-giver issues;
- Living arrangements – what type and/or where;
- Financial and estate planning;
- Medical decisions;
- Long term care planning;
- Dividing of personal property and heirlooms;
- Communication within the family;
- Second marriages, blended families and step-families;
- When should the elder person cease driving;
- End-of-life decisions;
- Funeral and burial decisions.
Some of the events that trigger the need for Elder Mediation include a death or imminent death, physical or mental injury or decline, health and safety concerns.
It is always difficult to talk about end-of-life issues. We avoid talking about death or endings. However there are two things that are inevitable, as they say – death and taxes, and it is beneficial to discuss these issues with family/friends when we are in a position, and have the capacity, to make our wishes known.
Too often these matters are not discussed, so when a crisis arises the family is thrown into confusion, and forced to make hasty decisions. How much better to have “The Conversation” and talk about the elder person’s wishes for their care and end-of-life, so the family is prepared, knows what the elder person wants under certain circumstances, and feels comfortable about making decisions.
Not only does the elder person feel more comfortable knowing that their wishes will be taken into consideration, the family feels relieved that they are taking the actions chosen by the elder.