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Florida Certified Elder Mediation

What Is Elder Mediation?

Florida has an ever-growing senior population. Census data projects that in 2020 there will be over 7.3 million Floridians aged 55+. Elderly Floridians face an array of unique concerns and challenges ranging from Medicare and Social Security, to assisted living arrangements and financial independence.

And yet, issues like residence decisions, caregiving responsibilities, safety and health concerns, inheritance distribution, the sale of the family home, and others can divide families and embroil them in painful and unrelenting conflict for years. When communication stalls and critical decisions are halted, families may need the help of a skilled mediator to move the balls forward again.

Certified Elder Mediators are specifically trained to handle and negotiate interfamily conflicts that involve aging parents or elderly grandparents in a way that leaves all parties feeling satisfied in the outcomes.

How Does the Elder Mediation Process Work?

Elder mediation is a form of family mediation. It provides a forum for family decision-making around those issues most often encountered when dealing with aging parents or grandparents.

Elder mediation is a cooperative process that is private, confidential, and completely voluntary. Certified elder mediators facilitate a purposeful and directed conversation in which family members are encouraged to express their interests and concerns so that everyone can address the myriad of changes and stresses that often occur in this particular part of the family life cycle.

Our Elder Mediation services are informal and can be held in locations that meet the family’s needs, including private homes, our firm’s offices in Boca Raton, or senior living facilities.

The goals of mediation are twofold:

  • To allow families to create workable and mutually acceptable solutions to their current disputes, and
  • To develop communication strategies that enable them to work together to make important decisions in the future.

Because family members develop their own solutions that reflect their family’s unique situation, satisfaction with the outcome is quite high and the resolutions tend to be workable and long lasting.

What Issues Do Elder Mediators Handle

Elder Mediators can address a wide range of issues surrounding elder care, wills and estate, healthcare, and more. Some of the most common areas where families come to loggerheads and may need the services of a Certified Elder Mediator include:

  • Independence: Should the parent still drive? Should the parent still live on their own or in an assisted-living facility?
  • Caregiving: Who should be responsible for caring for the parent? Should these responsibilities be split? Do caregivers receive payments for their services?
  • Financial issues: Who controls the parent’s finances?
  • Guardianship issues: Does a family member need to take legal guardianship over the parent? If so, who?
  • Housing issues: Should the family home, summer home, cottage, or other property be sold?
  • Intergenerational relationship issues: Are there children or grandchildren the parent does not want to have a say in their care?
  • New marriages and step-relative issues: Do siblings, stepsiblings, and stepparents disagree about inheritance issues?
  • Family business issues: Who should run the family business? Should the business be sold?
  • Abuse, safety issues, neglect: Are there any signs of neglect or abuse from caregivers or assisted-living homes?
  • Legal issues: Has the parent properly executed a will, living will, power of attorney, healthcare surrogate, and any other estate planning documents?
  • Medical care: Does the parent prefer in-home medical care or to go to a medical facility? What about for long-term medical issues or at the end of life?
  • End-of-life planning: What are the parent’s preferences for end-of-life care? What are their burial plans?

Despite the uniqueness of these issues to each family, there are similar financial, legal, and medical decisions that need to be made. Unfortunately, too often these issues are avoided, disagreed upon, or ignored until it’s too late, which results in fewer choices, financial losses, and emotional turmoil for everyone involved. While addressing these delicate and sensitive topics is never easy, working through these challenges with a Certified Elder Mediator can be a real opportunity to preserve the financial and structural wellbeing of the family.

Do I Need an Elder Mediator?

If discussions with your parents, stepparents, or siblings have come to an impasse about critical financial, health, or legal choices, or if debates about caring for your mom or dad are breaking your family apart, it could be time to consider enlisting the services of an Elder Mediator.

Families often think of Elder Mediation as a last-ditch effort before moving to litigation, especially when disputes involve financial matters. However, litigation is a lose-lose situation, even for the party who technically “wins.” Courts are not charged with developing creative solutions that leave all parties satisfied. The adversarial nature of litigation is sure to further deteriorate an already fragile family relationship.

Therefore, early intervention is always best, before the family is in crisis and is ready for it to come to fisticuffs. A neutral discussion can strengthen family ties and enable all family members to deal with the changing nature of their relationships and the realities of their situation. Bringing in a Certified Elder Mediator early can let cooler heads prevail and, more importantly, allow you and your family to provide better care for your aging parents.

Here to Help Florida Families in Need

Brandon Labiner, Esq., Of Counsel here at the Law Office of Paul S. Labiner, is a Certified Elder Mediator. If you and your family are struggling to make some of these critical medical, legal, and financial decisions surrounding your aging parents or grandparents, he can help.

Call our office today at (561)998-2362 or book a time to discuss your family’s elder mediation needs.

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