By Carolyn Rosenblatt
Anyone who wishes to resolve a disagreement or conflict by meeting, talking, and accepting the guidance of a mediator can use mediation. It requires a willingness to come together in a neutral place and spend the time working to get the dispute resolved.
It also takes a willingness to listen to the other party or parties to the disagreement, and to make some compromises or agreements with them.
In caring for elderly parents, many families experience conflict over what to do for an aging loved one. Some fight over who is doing the most work. Some argue and criticize the choices and work one sibling is doing for an aging parent. Others are in a constant state of disagreement over where their elder should live, or who should take care of the elder.
All of these areas of conflict can be successfully addressed. If the family is unable to resolve their own disputes by talking them over in the family, it may be time to consider an outside source of help: elder mediation. This is a process in which people who have a dispute choose an outside neutral person to work with them to air their differences and make a guided effort towards agreements. The parties sit down with the mediatior, who is a trained professional, to negotiate solutions to the problems that are causing distress among them.
Sometimes, the process only takes two or three hours. If there are mulitple issues, the parties to dispute, may need to have two or more sessions with the mediator. The mediator does not tell the parties what to do, or decide the solutions for them. Rather, a mediator helps people to see things from a different point of view, and to reach their own negotiated agreements. Mediation can save untold grief and stress, and can prevent things from boiling over into lawsuits and destructive actions by one family member against another. At AgingParents.com, we work as co-mediators to help familes in dispute. We can also help you to find a mediator in your area.
Carolyn Rosenblatt is a registered nurse and attorney who has 40 years of experience. She is the author of "The Boomer's Guide to Aging Parents." Read her full biography