Saturday, August 15, 2015

Mediation Helps Seniors and their Adult Children Resolve Differences

The Smith family just can’t agree. Dad (86) likes to spend his day in the poker room at the track. His son, John, is concerned both about how Dad spends his time and Dad’s ability to drive there safely.  John thinks Dad should live in an assisted living facility. But there’s no way Dad’s going to an “old folks home.” Whose life is it anyway? However, Dad wouldn’t mind having his daughter, Mary, care for him at home. After all, she has always been his favorite and she knows just how he likes things done.

But Mary works full time and has three active kids at home. Mary tried to call a home care agency, but Dad doesn’t want “strangers” coming into his house.

John and Mary’s sister, Kathy, insists that she should live with Dad and is hurt that Dad didn’t ask her first. John and Mary don’t agree with Kathy’s lifestyle and are suspicious of her motives for wanting to move in with Dad. The arguments among the family members are getting pretty heated. This family needs help moving forward.

Bring in the Elder Mediator. 

Elder mediation is conducted to help seniors and their adult children resolve conflicts regarding a wide variety of issues such as living arrangements, care-giver issues, long term care, financial, economic, medical, and end-of-life decisions.  A mediator can sit down with Dad, John, Mary, and Kathy and help them find a mutually acceptable plan for Dad’s future.

Elder mediation—like other kinds of mediation—is a voluntary, informal, and confidential process. The mediator helps family members communicate respectfully and effectively and empowers them to keep family decision making in the family, preserving and possibly improving the family relationship, and helping Dad maintain his dignity.

Could a mediator help bring peace to your family?

Brooke Goldfarb, Harvard JD, is a divorce, family, and elder mediator at Peaceful Beach Mediation in Indialantic. She can be reached at 321.626.2858 and

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