Caring for Aging Parents: Overcoming Family Conflict with Elder Care Mediation
Updated: Jun 7
Caring for aging parents frequently leads to conflicts with siblings.
When working together and caring for aging parents, even the closest of siblings may find themselves in conflict. It’s not unusual for stress levels and emotions to be running high. Add to this your past history and family dynamics, which commonly resurfaces during challenging times, and it is easy to see how difficult this stage in life might be for each of you.
The most common aspects of disagreement among family members include money matters, varying ideas on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an unfair balance of tasks pertaining to caregiving, just to mention a few.
Sometimes, in spite of how hard you try, both you and your family members are just unable to reach an agreement on exactly how to best care for aging parents. An impasse such as this is actually quite common, frequently stemming from challenging family dynamics and unresolved conflicts. Nevertheless, there is a remedy many families are unaware of that can be extremely helpful: enlisting assistance from an elder mediator.
A specialist trained in conflict resolution, an elder mediator provides an unbiased, third-party voice to family meetings. She or he can help diffuse intense emotions and outbursts and direct the dialogue in ways that lead to a result which 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.”
Unlike family therapy, which helps families sort out problems slowly over an extended period of time, elder mediation is a targeted, compacted method that typically brings about an agreeable outcome in just a couple of sessions.
Elder mediators allow siblings the chance to both offer input and listen respectfully to one another. The goal is not just to look for the best outcome for the elderly parents, but to help siblings maintain healthy relationships with each other during the process.
When checking out elder mediation options, there are several questions you should ask:
What is your training, education, and background?
How much experience do you have in our specific situation?
Are you a member of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) or some other professional associations?
What are your fees?
To identify an elder mediator in your area, visit APFM’s mediator directory. Once you and your siblings decide on the very best path forward in caring for your aging parents, give The Care Company, providers of top-rated in home assistance in the greater Toronto area, a call. We will be delighted to provide a complimentary in-home assessment to discuss how we can help ensure all of their care needs are completely met. Email or give us a call 24/7 at 416-422-2273.