Elder mediation benefits families who are unable to engage constructively in difficult conversations on behalf of aging loved ones. It is a process where two or more parties meet with an impartial mediator (or co-mediators) to resolve differences. Rather than imposing any decisions, the mediator guides the parties, using techniques that foster effective communication. The mediator serves as a process expert for
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each situation. The goal of the mediation is to plan for the present and the future, rather than to revisit the past, although elder mediators also help families recognize and move through earlier patterns that may affect current conflict. Elder mediation provides opportunities for families (often, adult siblings) to address issues of denial, imbalanced responsibilities and finger pointing. Apologies and forgiveness may play a role in the process.
Elder mediation usually is significantly less expensive than litigation. Particularly helpful in situations that are not (yet) litigious, mediation can save countless hours and of family discord.
One advantage of elder mediation is that the discussions are all confidential – the mediation becomes a “safe place” for difficult conversations.