Facilitated mediation may be an effective way to resolve conflicts between older people, their families and care providers. Preliminary results from a specialised conflict resolution program for seniors, run between a provider and a counselling group, have demonstrated its value.
The Seniors Mediation Program, a trial initiative and partnership between Benetas and FMC Mediation and Counselling Victoria, was established to resolve such conflict in a non-adversarial way. The specialised mediation program was based on a person-centred approach and wellness model, which aimed to include the older person’s voice, wants and needs at the forefront of the resolution process, even when a person may have lost capacity.
While the trial of the program was still ongoing, preliminary results suggest the program was effective in preserving family relationships, improving communication and reducing decision-making stress for all parties, and in most cases, had led to formal agreements.
Jenni Dickson, executive manager of quality and service development at FMC Meditation will present on these preliminary findings, as well as the opportunities and challenges of elder-based mediation at the upcoming Australian Association of Gerontology Conference in November. “Our main aim is to make sure that the older person is central and has a voice in the conflict,” she told Australian Ageing Agenda. “They may have a power of attorney acting on their behalf, but they may very well have wishes that they want to be included and including them in the process where we can and where it’s appropriate is a real point of difference.”
Lyn Lucas, a Senior Lawyer at Catherine Henry Lawyers, and our expert Elder Lawyer, will be attending the AAG Conference in November at Alice Springs, and is looking forward to broadening her knowledge on how the mediation trial initiative is progressing in Victoria.
You can read more about the program here.