When working together to ensure the needs of one’s aging parents are met, even the closest family members may find themselves at odds. Stress levels and emotions are typically running high. Add to that your past history and family dynamics, which commonly resurface during stressful times, and it’s easy to understand how difficult this stage in life could be for each of you.
The most common areas of disagreement among siblings include financial decisions, varying sentiments on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an unfair balance of tasks surrounding caregiving, as a few examples.
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, both you and your siblings are just not able to arrive at an agreement on precisely how to best care for aging parents. An impasse like this is in fact quite common, frequently stemming from past, unresolved conflicts and challenging family dynamics. Nonetheless, there is a solution many families are unaware of that can be incredibly helpful: enlisting assistance from an elder mediator.
A specialist experienced in conflict resolution, an elder mediator provides an unbiased, third-party voice to family meetings. She or he can help diffuse increased emotions and outbursts and steer the verbal exchanges in ways that leads to a result that all parties can accept.
Elder mediator Susanne Terry explains, “Most of the time siblings want what’s best for the parents. They just look at it in a different way. Our goal is to help them figure out what their common interests are, so they can work together to find solutions.”
Different from family therapy, which helps families sort out problems gradually over a long time frame, elder mediation is a targeted, compacted method that typically brings about an agreeable outcome in just a handful of sessions.
Elder mediators give siblings the opportunity to both offer input and listen respectfully to each other. The aim is not just to look for the best outcome for the elderly parents, but to help siblings preserve healthy relationships with one another along the way.
When exploring elder mediation options, there are several questions you should ask:
- What is your education, training, and background?
- How much experience do you have in our particular situation?
- Are you a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) or other professional associations?
- What are your fees?
To find an elder mediator in your area, visit APFM’s mediator directory. Once you and your family members agree on the most effective path forward in caring for your aging parents, connect with the provider of in-home elderly care Atlanta families trust most, Atlanta Home Care Partners. We’ll be happy to provide a no cost in-home assessment to discuss exactly how we can help ensure all of their care needs are thoroughly met. We are available any time at (404) 228-0103. For a full list of all of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.