When you need to work as a team to make sure the needs of your aging parents are met, even the closest of brothers and sisters could find themselves at odds. Emotions and stress levels are, commonly, running high. Add to that your past history and family dynamics, which commonly resurface during stressful times, and it’s easy to understand how difficult this stage in life could be for each of you. Family caregiver conflict may arise.
The most prevalent areas of contention among siblings include money matters, differing thoughts on medical treatments or living arrangements, and an unfair balance of tasks pertaining to caregiving, just to mention a few.
On occasion, no matter how hard you try, both you and your siblings are just unable to reach an understanding on how to best care for aging parents. A family caregiver conflict such as this is actually quite common, often stemming from challenging family dynamics and unresolved conflicts. Nonetheless, there is a solution many families are unaware of which can be incredibly helpful: enlisting assistance from an elder mediator.
An expert 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 steer the dialogue in ways that brings 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 problems little by little over an extended period of time, elder mediation is a focused, compacted process that usually brings about an agreeable outcome in just a handful of sessions.
Elder mediators give siblings the opportunity to both offer input and listen respectfully to each other. The goal is not just to determine the very best outcome for the senior parents, but to help family members maintain healthy relationships with each other along the way.
When searching for elder mediation options, there are several questions you should ask:
- What is your training, education, and background?
- Exactly how much 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 identify an elder mediator in your community, visit APFM’s mediator directory. Once you and your family members agree on the most effective path forward in caring for your aging parents, give Midnight Sun Home Care a call. We’ll be pleased to provide a free of charge in-home assessment to talk about how we can help ensure all of their care needs are thoroughly met. As the premiere provider of Anchorage senior services and care in nearby areas, we are available 24/7 through our online contact form or over the phone at (907) 677-7890.