As seniors become older, their adult children will often be at odds with them over several issues and there may be a delicate redistribution of power. For example, the children may disagree with where the senior should live, who should be responsible for caring for the elder and how the elder's will and estates should be divided. Luckily, there is a form of family mediation known as elder mediation that can help adult children resolve their disputes with their parents.

Elder mediation is meant to be a voluntary agreement in which a neutral, private third-party oversees negotiations between adult children and their elders. Elder mediation is best carried out the moment that the elderly parent comes into conflict with his or her adult children over a life decision. However elders might be resistant to the mediation for one of several reasons. You will want to tell the elder one or more of the following to put him or her at ease.

Mediators Do Not Have Legal Power

One common reason for resistance to the mediation process is that the elder feels like the mediation service will force him or her to take a specific action. It is important to emphasize that mediators at firms like Wilson Christen LLP have no legal power, and that the elderly parent will have the final say in the matter. It is the job of the mediator to remain neutral, so this is the perfect opportunity for the elder to have his or her voice heard.

The Process is Informative

The mediation process can help the elder more easily make a decision because the family mediator makes sure that all relevant information has been put on the table before any discussions begin. The mediator will try to uncover the feelings of each family member so that everyone can understand where each family member stands. This has the potential to reduce conflict by fostering understanding.

There May Be Less Conflict

If the family is prone to name-calling and conflict, the elder mediator can help reduce this by redirecting the conversation in a way that is productive. Also, some of the more combative members of the family may be less likely to be combative with a third party present in the room. There might be less tension in the room when each family member realizes that he or she can negotiate for what he or she wants.

The Mediator Will Not Judge the Parent

Let the parent know that the mediator will not judge him or her. Mediators are educated to understand that certain feelings are normal during family disputes and will approach these feelings in a non-judgmental manner. When communicating with the parent, adult children need to try to place themselves in the parent's shoes and understand why they might be upset. By acknowledging these feelings, it is easier to bring the conflict to a calm resolution.

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