Should mom or dad be moved to a nursing home? Which sibling is best suited to make financial decisions for an elderly parent? At one point should an aging parent relinquish his or her car keys?
These are issues that many families are faced with at some point, and they tend to spark just the types of disagreements that can drive a loved ones to the breaking point. It’s not unusual to see families spending large amounts of time and money in court, seeking a resolution to the emotionally-charged disagreements they experience when it comes to making decisions concerning their elderly parents.
One alternative to litigation, as highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article, is to seek help from an elder mediator.
Mediation can be a cost-effective and confidential way for family members to resolve their disputes. Unlike litigation, mediation is non-binding. There’s not a judge making decisions for family members; instead, they’re assisted in attempting to reach a mutually agreeable solution to their problem. One big benefit of this approach is that, when it’s effective, it has the potential to salvage relationships that otherwise might be torn apart.
The field of elder mediation is growing fast, but it is not closely regulated. So, if you decide to use an elder mediator, you’ll need to do your homework. You’ll want to find a mediator with hands-on experience, as well as training in both general mediation and elder mediation.