As family members age or become disabled...
an almost endless range of challenging decisions faces the family that cares for them.
Who will provide meals, run errands, arrange transportation, manage medical visits and medications, choose a care facility, pay bills, check in to be sure that all is going well?
Many times these decisions involve multiple decision-makers and stakeholders, each with differing expectations and perceptions of the loved one’s needs. Adult decision-making siblings often have different abilities or willingness to contribute to care financially, physically, or both. With aging parents, emotions among adult siblings can run high as they deal with shared role reversal, geographic separation, disparate economic conditions, unresolved family issues including power struggles and ingrained ways of family interaction. Sadly, sometimes the decision making is so difficult for the family that cherished loved ones are left to fend for themselves.
What is today’s sandwich generation to do? Mediate.
Mediation is fast becoming the most common way for families to open communication, collaborate on decision making and possibly heal some old wounds along the way. Mediation is a confidential, voluntary process where resources are shared and decisions are made collectively by family members.
How does mediation work?
Decision-makers' meet with the mediator who helps bring equity into the discussions by facilitating communication, listening to each person, assuring everyone has an opportunity to talk, listen, and be heard. Participants are encouraged to contribute to problem-solving.
Sometimes the aging parents request the family come together to discuss their wishes and needs with a professional mediator. At other times the adult children or decision- makers request mediation. Legal, financial, mental health, medical or care-giving professionals may also participate.
What topics are suited to mediation?
Common topics include:
- Deciding who makes the decisions: Adult Children, Trustees, Guardians, Medical Providers, someone else?
- Choosing where Mom or Dad will live: who provides what type of care, how family members will keep in touch
- Addressing how costs will be managed
- Dividing the estate and how to reach agreement on family possessions that weren’t addressed or can’t be changed in the will, even though circumstances may have changed
- Taking away the car keys and other safety and independence matters
- End of life decisions
- Choosing an Elder Care Manager
RoundTable Group Mediators are available to meet at our comfortable, modern office and conference facility in Cohasset, MA or at an Elder Care Facility that’s more convenient for you.
When geography makes it difficult for all decision-makers to physically be in the same room, the RoundTable Group Mediator will arrange for virtual participation either through SKYPE or a similar service.