Siblings often struggle to work together to care for parents
For many siblings, working together to care for aging parents is difficult or nearly impossible.
Important and difficult decisions must be made, but old feelings and rivalries often flare up during discussions. Those emotions get in the way of making practical care decisions and end-of-life plans.
Elder mediation helps adult children agree
The New York Times recently wrote about the growing field of elder mediation.
Mediators help families resolve conflicts and find solutions that everyone can accept. Sometimes having an unbiased 3rd party involved is the only way to reach a decision when siblings have been getting nowhere trying to talk to (or yell at) each other for weeks, months, or even years.
What do siblings argue about?
Issues can come from disagreements about money, age-old debates about who mom liked best, different opinions on housing or medical treatments, or who has taken on the most responsibility and work.
According to a 2001 report, almost 40% of adult children who cared for a parent said they had major conflict with a sibling.
“Most of the time siblings want what’s best for the parents. They just look at it in a different way,” said Susanne Terry, an elder mediator. “Our goal is to help them figure out what their common interests are, so they can work together to find solutions.”
How long does elder mediation take?
Elder mediation isn’t like therapy or counseling, where you discuss and work out deep problems for months or years.
Mediation is more focused on what needs to be done right now. The mediator helps keep the conversation moving and makes sure everyone gets heard. Typically, families will only need a few sessions.
“I help them make family decisions they can all live with,” Ms. Mitchell said. “I help to bring out their better selves so they can focus on the parent or the continuation of the family.”
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff
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