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Something Needs To Be Done About Mom ………  
It is time for Elder Mediation



Elder mediation is not only a venue of last resort; it is a wise first step in the difficult process of ‘what to do about mom’.  Where will she live? Who will take care of her? How will we pay for this? What does mom think about it all?  Of course respecting mom’s wishes should be taken into consideration, but honestly may not be the best option. You need to have the talk.

Many baby boomers are reaching the point where we are faced with taking care of our parents. With the challenges of aging come significant issues. Difficult decisions have to be made and emotions can get in the way very quickly. The consequence of coping with the final years of elderly parents can break a family apart, creating lifelong estrangement between the siblings and even more unfortunately from the parent. Because of the way families deal or refuse to deal with the transition elder mediation offers a sensible way for the family to find and review the options and resources available to them. Mediation allows for open and honest communication. To find the best solution each party needs to be heard and their opinions considered. This is a family decision, not just one sister or brother. It is a joint responsibility.

Having the mediation process early in the discussion when you are beginning to find out the seriousness of the situation and discovering feelings about your parents can help you to think more clearly. It is a difficult time. Simply convene a family meeting with a trained mediator, have all the decision makers present. Doing this before the family is in crisis, can strengthen the family relationships and avoids burning bridges. Sibling rivalries and old wounds may come up and will need to be addressed at a time when everyone is calm and thoughtful decision making can occur.

Consider involving appropriate professional resources like lawyers, geriatric care managers and financial planners. These professionals are encouraged to attend as their expertise, and their insights into the family’s needs, are very helpful.

Topics that may need to be covered include:
* care giving and time sharing of duties
* estate planning and administration
* guardianship
* health care
* housing and living arrangements
* driving and mobility
* finances and insurance
* end-of-life planning and decision-making

There are many other issues that can arise depending on individual needs of your family. Mediation allows for open discussion of any issue. Think of elder mediation as advanced long term care planning. Have the conversation with your parents now as to their wishes, there may not be enough time later. When possible include your parents in the mediation process. The decisions made will affect all family members not just mom or dad and the siblings, include the feelings of the daughter/son in-laws and grandchildren who are old enough to participate, remember if grandma comes to live with you it is their home, too.

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