So You're Wondering: What Is Eldercare Mediation?

Mar 22, 2016

So You're Wondering: What Is Eldercare Mediation?

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Eldercare mediation is a family-oriented process in which family members can join with their loved ones and healthcare professionals to make a decision about what is best for their aging loved one. Deciding that a family member needs eldercare can be a tough and confusing decision. It is important when discussing the topic of transitioning that it is broached very lightly and delicately. While some families can all agree on an eldercare process, others cannot. A resource that many family members turn to during the difficult stage of exploring eldercare is a family mediator. A family mediator is a third party that helps family members make the appropriate decision for your loved one.

How Does Eldercare Mediation Work?

Eldercare mediation is a process where the family members of the aging adult responsible for selecting and developing appropriate plans for transitioning into assisted living situations work to create these plans. Some families will turn to a third party mediator who can assist in making those difficult decisions. A mediator (family member or third party) works to make the most logical decisions for the elder while still respecting all family member’s opinions as well as the elder’s. Mediators can aid in making decisions that refer to what types of care needs to be obtained.

The most frequently used eldercare options are:

Mediators can also be a resource in deciding what happens to other parts of your elder’s life decisions. Topics like driving, finances and bill paying, end of life decision-making and family members’ roles and responsibilities can be very sensitive topics that are better handled by a professional mediator.

When Should I Discuss Eldercare and Eldercare Mediation with My family?

In some situations, discussing the circumstances should be done with aging loved one, others can be unexpected experiences that need immediate attention. When the aging or debilitation is slow and expected it is important to discuss the eldercare process before the situation becomes severe or urgent. Deciding on the proper plan will take time and preparation as well as sensitivity. It is important to bridge the subject with other family members whether you decide to bring a mediator into the process of your loved one’s adult care transition or not.

What Do the Family Members Do During the Mediation Process?

During eldercare mediation, family members can help to make their loved one’s transition into eldercare as comfortable and smooth as possible. Typically, it is a common goal of all family members involved to help their loved one transition to the most logical situation while still keeping their dignity and a level of independence. Family members of those transitioning can also become responsible for different things that their loved ones can no longer maintain. Finances, transportation, and end of life decisions are just a few of the many responsibilities that can be passed on to the different supporting family members.

How Do I Know What Eldercare Plan is the Right One?

There are many different resources that can be used when making the decision of which plan is correct for your family member. That is why eldercare mediation is so important! Family members should discuss the options and issues with other members of the family as well as the elder. While some aging loved ones may just need assistance with driving, groceries or vacuuming others may need full-time around the clock care including medication distribution, bathing, and feeding. Each eldercare situation is different and unique so each plan will accommodate this. Different plans can cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars each month, so choosing the one that appropriately fits with you and your loved one’s situation is very important.

While eldercare is not for everyone, exploring your options is important while the people you love are growing older. During the mediation process it is important to consider the opinions of other family members, the problems that your loved one is facing, the cost of the programs, and whether or not a third party mediator is needed to help make the important decisions on the different steps that are required to help your elder transition into adult care. Suggesting different types of eldercare to your loved one may not be easy but being fully educated can make a huge difference when approaching your loved one about such a sensitive subject.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I get financial aid when taking care of my senior?

Typically no. Unless your senior has a mental or developmental disorder, most states do not provide financial aid. However, Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP), a federally supported program, provides services to help ease the financial burden of caregiving to a person 60 years and older. This program is available through your local department on aging. Although it usually doesn’t provide monetary aide, it can provide medical supplies, counseling, and education to help care for your senior.

You can, however, be eligible for various credits and deductions as a caregiver of your parent. Check out our Tax Tips for Caregivers Guide to learn more about these opportunities. Also be sure that your family member is taking advantage of our guide to senior tax tips.

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How do I create boundaries with my parent without seeming overbearing?

It’s important to preserve your family unit while not treating your parent like a guest in your home. If you don’t eat dinner every night at the dinner table, tell them. If you don’t allow smoking in the house, tell them. Explain some of the boundaries and house rules and they’ll most likely understand that it’s a group effort and should hopefully work with you to reach agreeable terms. On the same note, it's important that everyone be able to live together in harmony and have their opinions respected. Holding weekly house meetings can be a great chance to bond and respond to any plans or issues experienced. 

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