When you need to work together to assure the needs of your aging parents are met, even the closest of brothers and sisters can find themselves in conflict. Emotions and stress levels are, of course, running high. Add in your past history and family dynamics, which commonly resurface during stressful times, and it’s easy to understand how difficult this stage in life could very well be for each of you.
The most prevalent points of contention among family members include money matters, varying opinions on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an unfair balance of tasks surrounding caregiving, just to name a few.
On occasion, regardless of how hard you try, both you and your family members are just not able to reach an understanding on precisely how to best care for aging parents. An impasse such as this is in fact quite common, frequently stemming from past, unresolved conflicts and challenging family dynamics. Nevertheless, there is a solution many families are not aware of that can be exceedingly helpful: elder care mediation.
An expert experienced in conflict resolution, an elder mediator brings an impartial, third-party voice to family meetings. She or he can help defuse heightened emotions and outbursts and lead the verbal exchanges in a manner that brings about an outcome that all parties can accept.
Elder mediator Susanne Terry explains, “Most of the time siblings want what’s best for the parents. They just look at it in a different way. Our goal is to help them figure out what their common interests are, so they can work together to find solutions.”
Unlike family therapy, which helps families work through struggles gradually over an extended period of time, elder mediation is a focused, compacted method that typically results in an agreeable outcome in only a few sessions.
Elder mediators allow siblings the chance to both offer input and listen respectfully to one another. The aim isn’t just to look for the very best outcome for the senior parents, but to help siblings maintain healthy relationships with one another in the process.
When exploring elder mediation options, there are several questions you should ask:
- What is your training, education, and background?
- What amount of experience do you have in our specific situation?
- Are you a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) or any other professional associations?
- What are your fees?
To locate an elder mediator in your area, visit APFM’s mediator directory. Once you and your family members decide on the best path forward in looking after your aging parents, connect with CareWorks Health Services, award-winning caregivers in Orange County. We will be delighted to provide a complimentary in-home consultation to discuss how we can help make sure all their care needs are completely met. You can reach us 24/7 at (949) 859-4700.