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  • Julie Katz

What is Elder Mediation and how can it help you?

This is a much better alternative to court


I have written a few articles about siblings who don't help their aging parents. What happens when siblings, or even the parent themselves, disagrees about major decisions? It is time to call in an elder mediator.





Just as a mediator in other areas; jobs, divorce, etc. an elder mediator is there to help the family come to a mutually agreeable decision. They do not 'take sides' and their decisions are not binding as they would be if it was a court ruling. They do try to uncover why people feel the way they do and then come up with a solution that meets the needs of all.


These are situations to use a mediator:


Living situations: Assisted living verses getting care at home. Choosing an assisted living if that is the decision. Moving near children or staying in the area where they live.


Selling of major assets: Whether to sell a home or a valuable or keep it in the family.


Appointing a guardian: Is it time to appoint a guardian and which family member should be appointed?


Financial decisions and wills: Who will make financial decisions (especially if the older adult is supporting a family member)? A mediator is a good idea if disbursement of assets in a will of someone who is still living. A financial advisor can also participate in the discussion.


Medical decisions: Should aggressive treatment be sought or palliative care? In this case, medical professionals and clergy can also be consulted.


When should you not use an elder mediator?


When one party vows not to abide by the decision. Let's face it, some people are litigious and like to go to court or are so stubborn they can't see any other viewpoint.


If you suspect physical or financial abuse by one or more parties. It is better to contact the elder abuse line or a lawyer or financial professional.


You can find a mediator here: https://apfmnet.org/find-a-mediator/ . You may also want to consult with professionals such as lawyers, financial advisors or clergy.


Court decisions are lengthy, expensive and usually result in the destruction of the relationship between the two parties. Elder mediation is a good first step to help preserve family relationships and save money.


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