Older Persons Mediation

When your family finds making decisions about age related issues difficult it can seem almost overwhelming. How do you communicate and make decisions together given the many different perspectives and emotions involved? Mediation provides a process for families to make decisions in a way that can both prepare for the future and preserve relationships.

Our Mediators are professionals familiar with the challenges faced by those growing older and experiencing life changes and all the issues that may come at this time. We facilitate family discussions and ensure that the rights and wishes of the older person are respected. Difficult topics can be addressed in a safe and constructive process.

What are the specific types of situations in which mediation can be helpful?

Each family will have very specific needs but many of the issues commonly addressed in mediation include:

  • The level of care and support that a loved one now needs
  • The best place for the older person to live in order that their needs can be met – decisions about Nursing or Residential Care
  • Individual roles and responsibilities in care giving
  • Conflicting perceptions, interpretations and values
  • Finances and bill paying
  • Driving and transportation
  • Medical and end-of-life decisions and Powers of Attorney
  • Perceived entitlement to personal property or inheritance

Engaging in Older Persons Mediation works because Mediators can:

  • Help families to communicate more effectively in order to reach an agreement about important decisions
  • Create a safe space to talk
  • Help family members to express what is important to them so that others can hear and understand
  • Reality-test options suggested and assist in identifying what additional information may be needed to make well-considered decisions.

A lot of families find it difficult to initiate and have such discussions on their own.  With the best will in the world, often families fall into familiar roles when difficult decisions have to be made; one member may dominate discussions and others might have difficulty being heard – that’s where the mediators can help.  Our role is to facilitate a conversation where all voices are heard in order to obtain the best possible outcome for all concerned. 

What happens when I contact FMNI?

Every mediation is different but there is a general pattern:

  • The person who contacts the service explains why mediation is being considered and who might be involved. If mediation is appropriate, the mediator will ask the caller to contact other family members to see if they would be interested in participating.
    (Mediations usually involve older people and their family members. However, sometimes it is appropriate to involve friends, neighbours, caregivers or health professionals.)
  • The mediator has a private, confidential conversation with each of the participants who has agreed to be part of the mediation. (In some situations, it may be possible to proceed directly to the joint meeting without prior conversations with participants.)
  • The next step is a meeting (there may be more than one meeting) where all of the participants are present with the mediator allowing issues to be aired in order to resolve them or to agree the best way forward.
  • A suitable venue will be agreed with the best interests of the older person being priority.
  • If you are a professional supporting a family please contact us to discuss potential for using mediation.

Feedback from users

‘Talking makes help and support more likely to happen. It helped us learn what others were concerned with’

‘We had a situation that was full of opposing views. Of course ,we all care about each other in our family, but things have a way of getting too personal and our situation was getting out of hand. We needed someone to help us move forward, this clarified everything’

‘Why did we not know about this type of mediation?’