Elder Care: Getting on the Same Page & Establishing a Process

CNN recently published an article on elder care: “As Baby Boomers Retire, A Focus on Caregiving.”   It is interesting to see America age, and often more interesting (and often sad) to see adult siblings (and their spouses) handle caregiving issues.  Too often, the caregiving is done poorly due to a lack of information, a lack of coordination, and plain old denial that a loved one isn’t as able as he or she used to be..

At One Mediation, and other mediation firms, elder care mediation is an offered service.  Many of these mediations are really facilitated family meetings.  Siblings get a sense of where each other stands with regard to “how to care for mom.”  It is a safe place where the family can learn how to discuss and obtain the vocabulary to discuss the financial, medical, emotional, and mental aspects of the road ahead.

Even when siblings seem at an impasse – a battle between keeping mom at Our House  vs. moving mom to assisted living – elder mediation is the place to explore the motivations, the interests, and the reasoning behind these positions.  It is in the best interest of the individual being cared for that his or her children or loved ones meet, discuss, and work out a current plan of action and address how to they will proceed when care needs change.

Aging is an unpredictable pattern.  Talk to anyone with an elderly person in their lives and you may hear about trips to the Emergency Room, set backs, and medical scares.  It is this certainty that the future will be absolutely uncertain that should bring families to the table, with a mediator, to discuss how they want to communicate changes in conditions and how they want to address medical, financial, and caregiving needs.  Caring for an older loved one is physically and mentally challenging, and it can result in permanently damaged relationships, particularly between siblings. 

And, damaged relationships, hurt feelings, and suspicion all can be avoided with communication that is facilitated, if needed.

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