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Elder Mediation Helping Families Come Together On Issues With Aging Parents

May 13, 2011 Leave a comment

With roughly 1 in 5 Americans charted to become senior citizens in the near future, it is not surprising that all types of services and businesses have sprung up to serve and profit from this demographic. Over the last few years, elder mediation for families with age related issues has become one of them and has emerged as a distinct specialty in the field of senior care. Elder mediation is now recognized as an important step in planning the continuum of care for an aging family member – promoting wellness, developing prevention strategies and enhancing quality of life for the entire family.

So why does a family need a mediation service to identify and resolve issues surrounding their elderly parents?

Some points of concern in the aging process are not always black and white issues with clear cut solutions. Coping with gradual decline, signs of dementia, increasing frailty or an illness often become issues clouded with denial, resistance, confusion and uncertainty over the best course of action.  Discussions frequently involve family concerns over finances for caregiving, proper supervision or housing options for the aged family member. Many families live great distances apart, have separate busy lives, different levels of concern and ways of dealing with it. Frequently, one sibling ends up with the primary responsibility of the elderly parent and seeks to involve the entire family in the decision making process, as well as equitably sharing the burdens and the resources.

Conflicts that may have simmered below the surface for years can boil over and make candid family conversations very difficult. Siblings dealing with differences in their own geographic, economic and immediate family structures often find working together challenging. Healthcare, financial and care giving concerns can suddenly become pressing issues that demand all family members weighing in with their opinions. When productive communication seems impossible, elder mediation can step in by teaching families how to communicate respectfully and effectively and how to listen to each other’s concerns. As with many families, certain dynamics may have never been addressed, have been swept under the carpet for years and suddenly emerge with an immediate need for dissection.

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Many times, the siblings are also confronted with resistance from the elderly parent as well. As with many parent child relationships, all good intentions may be tempered with issues of control, role reversal, guilt and a little deception — enough loaded material to fill a psychology syllabus. A few important facets of dealing with an aging parent that can be effectively mediated by a professional outsider are:

Healthcare and Caregiving: Should it be at home, in the community, in the hospital, skilled nursing home or in an assisted living community?

Financial concerns

Proper nutrition

Safety concerns

Care for the caregiver as well as relieving caregiver burden

Driving: Safe or unsafe?

Medication regimens

Religious issues

End of life decisions

Guardianship

Estate planning

As family members seek to resolve problems, some are able to come together with effective solutions while others cannot. Some members may be resistant, doubtful and unwilling to accept or try out ideas suggested to them. By utilizing the services of a mediator who is trained in sensitivity, conflict resolution and problem solving, families can find acceptable solutions for maintaining the well being of their aging parent.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living San Jose and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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