As the baby boomers are aging, more and more of our population is being faced with the challenges of caring for elderly parents. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, by 2050 the number of Americans 65 years or older will be more than double what it was in 2000.
A major challenge in addressing the needs of elderly parents is the tremendous conflict that often arises between siblings, family members, and caregivers when trying to decide what is best for the Elder. Imagine a family with several siblings, what is the chance everyone is going to agree on the same course of action? Thus the need has been born for Elder Mediators. In cases of family disputes it’s usually always best not to hire an attorney (unless there is elder abuse or financial misappropriation). The process of litigation is both costly and damaging to family relationships.
Elder Mediation, like any type of Mediation is a confidential and a voluntary process guided by a trained Elder Mediator who helps the families and the Elder reach important decisions through education and compromise. The Elder will often be included as long as they are capable of understanding the situation and are competent. Many times a Geriatric Care Manager may be involved in the Mediation as an outside neutral third party who can assess the Elder’s state and often make suggestions to the best course of action for care of the Elder. Sometimes Elder Attorneys may also be involved if there are legal issues which arise.
The Elder Mediator will ensure that everyone involved is understanding the situation at hand and moving ahead to take action which ultimately is best for the Elder. During the Mediation process family members learn how to communicate and in the long term it helps them to work cohesively to make future decisions together that will again benefit the Elder and all involved.
Roseann Vanella is one of the few trained Elder Mediators in the New Jersey & Pennsylvania area. She offers the options of onsite Mediation for Elders depending on their needs or she can also accommodate parties living in different states by offering Video Conferencing.
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