Elder Mediation Resolves Family Conflicts
By Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. ~
“My daughter is insisting I move in with her,” complains Martha. “She just wants to control my life and take away my freedom,” she continues.
Jenny, Martha’s daughter worries that her mother keeps falling, and fears one day she will break her hip or hit her head.
“I’ll take my sister to court before I will let her get control of mom and my inheritance,” exclaims Jim about Jenny’s desire to move her mother in with her.
It is amazing how quickly formerly cordial relationships between family members will sour when the family must deal with care of elderly parents or inheritance at their death. Sometimes the consequence of dealing with the final years of elderly parents can break families apart and create long-lasting animosity.
The National Care Planning Council has seen an increase in requests from caregiving children for help in solving disputes with siblings. In one case, the caregiver was being sued by her sister for abusing their parent and stealing the Social Security checks. In another, the caregiving child would not allow siblings to see their mother, claiming they would take advantage of her.
A lot of times it is a “she said,” “he said” situation with neither party really understanding what the elder person needs or wants.
Some families find it hard to communicate with each other when their parent needs care. Perhaps when they grew up together, they were not accustomed to come together as parents and children to work out problems. And now those children are older and taking care of parents and they don’t have this family council strategy to rely on. It may seem unnatural to them. But that is often exactly what is needed, especially in situations where perhaps one child is caring for the parents and the others are left out of the loop.
Children all have a common bond to their parents and as a result a common obligation or responsibility to each other. When disagreements arise, suspicions begin to grow. Suspicions or distrust often lead to anger and the anger often leads to severing the channels of communication between family members. This can occur between parent and child or between siblings or between all of them.
It is often at this point that a neutral third party can come in and repair the damage that has been done and help correct the problems that have come about because of the disagreement.
A practitioner experienced in elder mediation is a perfect choice for solving disagreements due to issues with the elderly.
This article was written by Tamra K Waltemath of Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C. This information is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For specific questions, you should consult a qualified attorney. Tamra K. Waltemath is an elder law attorney focusing on wills, trusts, estate and trust administration, probate and non-probate transfers, guardianships and conservatorships. She can be contacted at: Tamra K. Waltemath, P.C., 3843 West 73rd Avenue, Westminster, CO 80030; 303-657-0360; or visit her website at: www.WaltemathLawOffice.com.