Taking Care of Mom at 80 is Hard Work, Particularly With Sibs

Mediation isn’t just for litigation.  Families are learning that mediation works for them, too.

Often, families had that “one person” who basically served as the mediator.  These days, families are no longer living together in the same town, having a weekly meal together, or close.  But, there remains the need for a person to help drive agreements and ground rules when issues arise, such as Elder Care issues.

Adult children are  finding that caring for Mom or Dad is complex.   Mental declines are scary.  Physical declines are a moving target.  Recognizing, accepting, and addressing those mental and physical changes are fairly difficult for most children to process.  Further, siblings – who all are shareholders in the decisions for parents – rarely process these changes at the same rate or come up with the same conclusion about what is in the parent’s best interests.

Aging is a costly proposition, as well.  In home care has costs, whether the care is from an unpaid relative or a paid professional.  Assisted living and extended care have price tags that rival college, but without the charm.  And, there are social ramifications with these options, as well. 

The situation is complex, and families are beginning to look to mediation as a welcome step in the elder care process.  For adult siblings, dynamics have been set in place for decades.  Grudges resurface.  Disagreements turn into impasse.  A facilitated discussion with a mediator helps clear the way through these pieces of emotional baggage to set a path for the future that is predictable, engages all shareholders, and promotes the parent’s (or parents’)  “best interests.” 

Families facing elder care issues should look at mediation as a necessary step in the care process, particularly when they know “the Talk” will not take place at Thanksgiving, as planned.

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