Care giving often leaves families struggling to answer questions including: Where will my parents live now? Who will be there to assist them? Who will make health and financial decisions for them if they can't make them on their own? Who will pay for their care? What about their will and estate?
These kinds of questions can shed light on years of unattended and estranged relationships while challenging family members to create workable and mutually acceptable solutions to collectively care for their loved one.
Here are some options to consider as your family works to "share the care:"
- Hold a family meeting to discuss available options. Come to the meeting with goals and plans for taking incremental steps.
- Talk often, meet soon and learn to develop an understanding that enriches your mutual care-giving experiences.
- If the tension among the family members is too great, seek a trained mediator. Family mediation provides a neutral facilitator to help identify and develop solutions. Mediation is being used by an increasing number of families caring for aging family members.
If mediation seems like the right option for your family, here are some things to keep in mind:
It is ideal for the older adults to participate in the mediation if they are able. If they are not able to be an active and responsible participant, an advocate or legal surrogate may represent their needs.
Although it is best if all parties can participate face-to-face around a table, sometimes that is not possible. The mediator will typically facilitate the conversation so that anyone available via phone is included.
Mediation services are typically paid on an hourly basis.Tags: aging parents, caregiving, financial decisions, health decisions, mediation