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Eldercare Mediation - Topic Overview

How does this kind of mediation work?

Sometimes a judge will order a family to use a mediator. But things usually go better when someone in the family makes the suggestion. Elderly parents can also add a rule to their will or living trust. The rule would require that the family use mediation to help solve family problems.

Whether you use a trained eldercare mediator or someone else, the important thing is to find someone outside of your family who can:

  • Run the meetings without favoring any one side.
  • Make sure that everyone is heard, including the parent(s)-even if the parent has Alzheimer's or dementia.
  • Help the family settle issues that keep them apart.
  • Help family members find solutions that work for the whole family.

As part of the elder mediation process, the family works together to:

  1. Decide who should take part in the mediation. The elderly parents and their children are usually present for the mediation sessions (even if that means taking part via phone or computer or both). The sessions can also include:
    • The adult children's spouses.
    • Grandchildren or other relatives.
    • The elderly parents' friends, medical providers, pastors, or social workers.
    • Lawyers or financial planners.
    • Caregivers or geriatric care managers.
  2. Choose a mediator. The person you choose may be a trained eldercare mediator. Or it may be a social worker or any person your family feels comfortable with as a mediator. When you interview people to serve as your mediator, find out if they have the training and experience to deal with the legal, health, and emotional issues that come with aging. If you decide to hire a trained eldercare mediator, be aware that anyone can call himself or herself a mediator. Mediators aren't licensed. To find eldercare mediators, talk with social workers or eldercare agencies in your community. You can also try the National Care Planning Council (
  3. Set a clear goal. Agree as a family on one clear goal. Trying to solve too many things at once can get confusing and make the mediation process last too long.
  4. Set a clear time limit. When you've all agreed on a goal, give yourselves a specific amount of time to reach it.
  5. Start talking. When family members can agree on the final goal, the mediator can help them get there. If they can't agree, whatever progress they've made through the mediation process can help if the issue goes to court.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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