Siblings trying to come together to help mom or dad through the aging process will often run into more road blocks than they expect; and quite often these road blocks are internal. Can mom stay home for a few more years, or does she need round the clock help? Should the sister who lives down the street from dad get financial reimbursement for driving him to doctor’s appointments and the grocery store four times a week? How do you tell mom you think it’s too dangerous for her to drive by herself anymore?
These kinds of questions (and more) can end up leading to huge family fights, and in some severe cases, to litigation. This article in Smart Money suggests that when siblings can’t agree on elder care for aging parents, there is an alternative to litigation: An Elder Mediator.
Elder Mediators are mediators who specialize in elder law, caregiving, and elder decision-making issues. These mediators can “help families work through concerns — and fights — involving caregiving, inheritance, living arrangements, estate planning and related issues.” In fact, bringing an elder mediator into a family disagreement at the right time can save the family from a bitter and lengthy court battle, and therefore save hundreds of dollars in court and/or attorney’s fees.
The question then is when is the right time to hire an elder mediator? A mediator might be needed to help adult siblings scattered across the country come to an agreement over very different opinions about the best care for mom or dad. “Elder mediation is sometimes called adult-sibling mediation… While sisters and brothers typically know each other (and how to push each other’s buttons) well, they rarely have occasion to work together to solve problems. A parent in need of help can set off some nasty disagreements.”
That’s not all; Elder Mediators can also help children and parents in dispute come together in conversation and see eye-to-eye. “Adult children may find themselves united on a particular issue, only to face an unyielding parent. But often the parent simply wants to be heard… The mediation process, ideally, gives everyone an equal voice.”
You can locate an Elder Mediator in your area by clicking here; or to find out more about whether an Elder Mediator might be able to help your family through some tough decisions or disagreements, please contact our office.