As loved ones age, their needs and behaviours change. Invariably, these changes impact all family members, and strain family dynamics. Several factors may work against effective communication – such as family members can revert to childhood roles. There are assumptions that the “baby” of the family should be protected, or that the oldest siblings will do more. Financial, personal, and geographical differences may also impact conversations making collective decisions seem impossible. Mediation could be the answer.
Mediation is a process where people in conflict privately, effectively and safely discuss their perspectives and proposed resolutions. When contemplating care for a loved one, each family member’s perspective should be heard before crafting a plan. All suggestions should be discussed, and everyone should have an equal opportunity to be heard. Mediators are trained to facilitate constructive communication between people with different viewpoints.
Looking to reduce stress and resolve conflict, more families are using mediation for elder care issues. Many factors can be discussed including medications, distribution of personal property, roles of each family member, short-term and long-term scheduling needs, transportation, residence options, safety, communication, finances, inheritance, funeral arrangements, etc. Families who are caring for loved one can benefit from mediation. Mediation provides a safe and confidential platform for family members to engage in constructive conversations about best care practices.
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