When figuring out how to care for aging parents, even the closest of family members may find themselves at odds. Emotions and stress levels are, of course, running high. Add to this your past family dynamics and history, which frequently resurface during challenging times, and it is quite easy to see how challenging this stage in life could very well be for each of you.
The most frequent areas of contention when deciding how to care for aging parents include money matters, varying ideas on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an inequitable balance of tasks pertaining to caregiving, just to mention a few.
On occasion, no matter how hard you try, both you and your family members are simply not able to arrive at an agreement on exactly how to best provide care for aging parents. An impasse like this is in fact quite common, frequently stemming from past, unresolved conflicts and challenging family dynamics. Nevertheless, there’s a solution many families are not aware of that can be incredibly helpful: enlisting the help of an elder mediator.
A professional trained in conflict resolution, an elder mediator provides an objective, third-party voice to family meetings. He or she can help defuse heightened emotions and outbursts and point the dialogue in ways that bring about an outcome that all parties can accept.
Elder mediator Susanne Terry explains, “Most of the time siblings want what’s best for the parents. They just look at it in a different way. Our goal is to help them figure out what their common interests are, so they can work together to find solutions.”
In contrast to family therapy, which helps families work through issues slowly over a prolonged period of time, elder mediation is a focused, short-term process that typically brings about an agreeable outcome in only a handful of sessions.
Elder mediators allow siblings the opportunity to both provide input and listen respectfully to one another. The aim is not only to look for the most favorable outcome for the elderly parents, but to help siblings preserve healthy relationships with each other during the process.
When searching for elder mediation options, there are a number of questions you should ask:
- What is your training, education, and background?
- What amount of experience do you have in our specific situation?
- Are you a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) or any other professional associations?
- What are your fees?
To find an elder mediator in your area, visit APFM’s mediator directory. Once you and your family members agree on the best path forward in looking after your aging parents, connect with Golden Harmony. We’ll be delighted to provide a free in-home consultation to talk about how all care needs can be completely met. Give us a call any time at 919-426-7522 and let us provide your family the kind of caregiver Raleigh, NC and other nearby areas trust most. For more information about all of the areas we serve outside of Raleigh in North Carolina, please visit our Communities Served page.