June 4, 2021
When it comes to working together in caring for aging parents, even the closest of siblings can find themselves in conflict. Stress levels and emotions are, naturally, running high. Add to this your past family dynamics and history, which have a tendency to resurface during challenging times, and it’s easy to understand how challenging this stage in life could very well be for each of you.
The most common aspects of disagreement among siblings include financial decisions, varying viewpoints on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an inequitable balance of tasks related to caregiving, just to name a few.
On occasion, in spite of how hard you try, both you and your family members are simply unable to reach an agreement on exactly how to best provide care for aging parents. An impasse such as this is actually quite typical, frequently stemming from past, unresolved conflicts and challenging family dynamics. Nonetheless, there’s a solution many families are not aware of that may be extremely helpful: enlisting the assistance of an elder mediator.
An expert trained in conflict resolution, an elder mediator provides an impartial, third-party voice to family meetings. He or she can help diffuse heightened emotions and outbursts and direct the conversation in a way that brings about an outcome which 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 work through problems gradually over an extended period of time, elder mediation is a targeted, condensed process that typically results in an agreeable outcome in just a few sessions.
Elder mediators allow siblings the chance to both offer input and listen respectfully to each other. The goal is not only to determine the best outcome for the elderly parents, but to help siblings preserve healthy relationships with each other in the process.
When searching for 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 decide on the most effective path forward in taking care of your aging parents, connect with Continuum, the top-rated provider of senior home care in St. Charles and surrounding areas. We’ll be delighted to provide a no-cost in-home assessment to talk about how we can help make sure all of their care needs are completely met. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336.