Elder Mediation, Elder Mediation or Mediation with age related issues is the mediation of any conflict or disagreement involving an older adult. Mediation's inherent nature - private, informal, supportive and non-confrontational - makes it particularly appropriate in these types of situations.
The flexibility of the process, in terms of who can attend and where a mediation can be held (i.e. location and participants), is also "elder-friendly”. Unlike more formal court-based processes that generally involve only the actual parties to a dispute, mediation allows for a range of people to be involved in the discussion.
Since quite often the root of the problem lies beyond the actual parties to the disagreement and the specific issue in dispute, the participation of a number of people (such as family members and friends) goes a long way to resolving the problem in a true and lasting way. An older adult may also feel more comfortable and confident engaging in difficult discussions where others - such as friends, family members, or members of the clergy - are present to give support.
“Elder mediators” are trained mediators who also possess expert, up-to-date knowledge about the kinds of issues that are particularly likely to be associated with older adults.
These issues include:
- housing and living arrangements
- health care (at home, in the hospital, or in continuing care and long-term care communities)
- medical decisions
- nursing home decisions
- safety and environment
- abuse and neglect
- care for the caregiver as well as caregiver burden
- relationship concerns (this includes intergenerational relationships as well as new marriages and stepfamily situations)
- religious issues
- holiday schedules
- financial concerns
- estate planning
- family business
- end of life issues
Not all mediators are created equal, or have the same training.
Elder mediators have a specific Code of Professional Conduct for Mediators Specializing in Issues of Aging that we must commit to following.
As well, Elder mediators must have a minimum of 100 hours specialized training in addition to the hundreds of hours we need for basic/advanced family mediation.
At that point we can complete a video taped role play for review and write our exam.
Certification is available through Family Mediation Canada which is part of the Elder Mediation International Network. Currently there are less than 25 Certified Elder Mediators in Canada. I am in the final stages (role play and exam scheduled) of my certification!
*description borrowed from Family Mediation Canada.