With the Baby Boomer population entering full retirement, America’s elderly population is growing exponentially. This trend is putting a huge strain on families. Many working couples are faced with having to balance multiple jobs, raising kids, and caring for aging parents. And because the health of elderly individuals tends to deteriorate quickly, the need for elder care often comes suddenly, catching families off guard and with little guidance on the best way to proceed. To further complicate matters, siblings are often at odds over how to deal with Mom and Dad.
How Elder Mediation Can Help
One way for families to resolve issues around senior care and related matters is through elder mediation. With this format, a professional mediator meets with interested parties in a private and confidential setting. During mediation, siblings are able to discuss important issues in a non-adversarial manner. Some of the areas that can be covered may include:
Roles and Responsibilities of Family Members: Members of the family need to decide among themselves who will be responsible for various duties; such as taking Mom and Dad to the doctor, making sure they have groceries, organizing their schedules, taking care of finances, etc.
Living Arrangements: The family will need to decide where and with whom Mom and Dad will live. Options may include senior assisted living, living with one of the children, or hiring an in-home caregiver so your parents can stay in their home.
Family Caregiving: If your parents want to stay at home or move in with one of the children, is there anyone in the family that is able, willing and qualified to become their primary caregiver?
Medical Care Decisions: If there are pressing medical concerns, family members may need to decide (with the consultation of a medical professional) which health care procedures may be appropriate to perform at this stage in their parents’ lives to preserve optimal quality of life.
End of Life Decisions: Do your parents have any kind of living will or advanced health care directive specifying which end of life procedures they want performed and which they do not? These issues should be discussed long before a health crisis develops.
There are numerous other issues that may need to be addressed depending on your family’s unique set of dynamics. Families with generally good relationships can be strained when dealing with these decisions. An elder mediator will take the time to listen and learn your specific needs, and develop a customized plan that fully addresses those needs and allows the family to move forward together and maintain their relationships.