Caldwell & Kearns, P.C.
877-490-6665 717-743-1682

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Using mediation to resolve family disputes over a declining parent

Mediation and arbitration, as we’ve mentioned before on this blog, can be useful processes in many legal disputes, including those involving construction projects, labor contract negotiations and employment disputes, as well as disagreements over divorce and custody matters. One area where meditation is gaining in popularity is managing family disagreements over a parent whose health is declining, such as in the case of Alzheimer’s disease.

Those who work in the field of estate planning and probate, as well as elder law, know that it can often be difficult for adult children to come to an agreement about what is best for a parent who needs additional care in old age. When a parent has Alzheimer’s, not only do the practical, day-to-day matters have to be addressed, there is also the emotional pain of dealing with the cognitive decline of a parent. This can make it difficult for families to communicate and problem-solve effectively.

Families who cannot agree on powers of attorney or guardianship appointments face having a judge make decisions for them, and this is not always ideal. In some cases, working things out in mediation is a preferred avenue for resolving a dispute. The goal of mediation, in any dispute, is to come up with an agreement which takes into account the interests of all parties involved. Agreements which fail to do so are not sustainable in the long run and fail, possibly leading to litigation, which the family was attempting to avoid.

Coming up with a satisfactory agreement is not easy, and it is important to work with an experienced mediator who is skilled in helping parties to communicate effectively and come to a mutual recognition of one another’s interests and potential avenues of resolution outside the adversarial system.

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