Disagreement among elders, family members and caregivers is not uncommon. Elder mediation provides an opportunity to explore creative solutions in a confidential and safe environment. Elders can talk frankly about their values and the level of risk they are willing to take to retain a degree of independence and empowerment. Both initial participation and agreement with the resolution must be voluntary by all parties. The process is facilitated by an impartial mediator who has special training.
Although not all people experience decreased mental or physical capacity as they age, sometimes elders require special advocacy or support during the mediation process. The elder can acknowledge his or her needs for assistance during mediation without fearing that it will lead to a judge’s ruling of incapacity. The mediators will implement accommodations that allow the elder to participate to the fullest degree possible. Spiritual advisors, friends, neighbors or caregivers may be included in a mediation when appropriate.
There are a wide variety of issues which can benefit from mediation including:
- Living arrangements
- Social life and activities, such as driving
- Medical treatment and healthcare planning
- Level and quality of caregiving
- Financial and property management
- Estate planning and probate matters
- End-of-life values
- Guardianship and conservatorship