Alzheimer's art

Elder mediation aims to address conflicting issues in families and in institutions and provides a forum for family decision-making.

Elder mediators assist with difficult conversations among family members, and they help make plans and reach acceptable outcomes to disagreements.

When an elder parent or relative, for instance, is hospitalized and needs continuing or rehabilitative care after that hospitalization, new responsibilities are thrust upon the offspring.

There are often many family dynamics, such as the main caregiver sibling, the out-of-town sibling, the sibling that’s not trusted, etc. Old rivalries among siblings, long-buried grudges, past hurts and misunderstandings can interfere with making good decisions about the aging parent. The parent’s future care can become stressful and uncomfortable, and conflicts arise amidst mixed opinions.

Many times, conflicts occur because one or more of the siblings are trying to gain total control of that care.

Decisions regarding the responsibility and work of caring for an aging parent are involved, as well as looking at finances and long-term care issues. Elder mediation can work to sift out an amicable solution.

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The mediator can facilitate purposeful conversations with all parties to resolve the problems for the best interest of the aging parent. This includes allowing everyone to air their disputes, to identify the strengths and weaknesses in each opinion, and to finally agree on a satisfactory solution that all family members can live with and trust.

The mediator has no authority to impose a decision so nothing can be decided until everyone agrees.

Sometimes, the mediator will meet each family member privately to discuss personal and other issues of concern, and after these exchanges, presents them to the family at large. There may be several negotiations until an agreement is reached.

Once an agreement is reached, the mediator will put it in writing for everyone to sign and that way everyone has a solid plan about each sibling’s involvement in the parent’s care.

Mediation is successful about 70% to 80% of the time and is less expensive than disputes that escalate into lawsuits or other public displays. Compromise is a way to peace for families in conflict, and a mediator is there to help achieve a positive and working outcome.

Questions about Alzheimer's disease or related disorders can be sent to Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, owner of Dana Territo Consulting, LLC, at