One or both parents requiring care can create serious stresses and conflicts within families. Sometimes disagreements and misunderstandings over elder care or inheritance issues can lead families to break apart, affecting descendants for generations. To avoid this, elder mediation is available to resolve family disputes that otherwise may go unaddressed or lead to costly and traumatic litigation. A successful resolution can preserve family ties to the benefit of the entire family tree.
Elder mediation has been used effectively in the USA and Canada for many years. However it is a new, but growing, field in Australia. There are many problems that can be the focus of mediation including:
- elder parents requiring assistance – do they stay at home with help, move in with one of the children, move to assisted living, or move to an apartment?
- one child decides to leave work to move in and take care of Mum. Should she be paid for doing so and, if so, how much?
- Dad moves in with daughter and son-in-law, who need to build an addition onto their house to accommodate him. Should Dad pay for this? If he doesn’t live there long, should other siblings be compensated?
- daughter is taking care of Mum and Dad, driving them to appointments, visiting them daily, helping them pay their bills. She resents the fact that her brother (who lives in another State) isn’t helping out and she doesn’t share any information with him. The brother feels both guilt and relief that his sister is taking care of their parents, but he’s also questioning some of the decisions she makes and isn’t convinced that his sister isn’t siphoning off some of their parents’ funds.
Some families can work out these issues on their own, but many cannot. The disagreements or hurts either fester or break out into open conflict and, occasionally, litigation.
Our Consultant Lawyer, Lyn Lucas, is one of a handful of Elder Mediators who has had intensive training in elder mediation in the USA. Contact Lyn if you wish to discuss elder mediation in relation to your family problems or disputes.
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