Although courts do adjudicate cases from families deeply entrenched in disputes and rivalries, they cannot always help some of the most vulnerable members – the elderly relatives.
These high-conflict families have been compared to tornadoes. Their baggage from childhood, long-simmering fights and hurt feelings swirl and keep the conflict going. Accusations are thrown at each other. Sometimes alliances are formed; other times family members cannot even be in the same room.
Concerns and disagreements over the care of an aged parent – Can mom continue living alone? Should dad still be driving? – bring new fuel to the conflict. In some cases, one adult child is saddled with all the caregiving. With no help provided by the other siblings, the caregiver can become overwhelmed and abuse or neglect the parent.
The conflict can become so bad, it spills over into court and the judge has to find the resolution.
Mediation is an opportunity for families seeking a confidential and compassionate way to work through differences that cause conflict. Mediation promotes productive problem solving instead of wasting time on destructive behaviors. Families who choose to mediate demonstrate cooperation and compromise while protecting loved ones from the public and emotional toll of court.
*Conflict occurs when families are exhausted balancing the needs of the elder and the needs of the family.
*Financial strain increases due to lost work hours and medical bills.
*Anger and resentment build as relationships change under the strain of elder care.
*Elders at the center of families in conflict are at risk of elder abuse. Long term support and services can create issues.
Please see information about Long Term Support and Services here.
Practitioners are there to help the participants reach their goals by exploring options in order to find their own solution in resolving the dispute.
What’s in a name – “Conferencing” or “Mediation”
Engage before conflict begins, be preemptive, conserve resources.
The process invites participation and promotes empowerment. It encourages cooperation and collaboration amongst disputants. It is less stressful than litigation and preserves relationships.