Elder Care & Adult Guardianship Mediation

Elder Care & Adult Guardianship Mediation

From Martha’s interview for the Masters of Estates & Probate series on ReelLawyers.com.

Martha C. Brown is a certified Mediator in the areas of Adult Guardianship and Elder Care. She received her advanced training from Zena D. Zumeta, J.D., a nationally known expert in the area of Elder Mediation.

Mediation is the process in which a mutual third-party assists two or more people trying to resolve issues between them to find a mutual and agreeable resolution to a conflict. A mediator does not make decisions or recommendations involved in the outcome. Rather, the mediator assists the conflicting parties with communication, understanding, and creative problem solving. The mediator helps people achieve their goals for agreement. The mediator assists the conflicting people reach a resolution of their issues. Mediation is especially important in the area of Elder Care and Guardianships. Because of Martha Brown’s unique experience with Elder Care issues in Medicaid and Medicare, she is able to give the right assistance to conflicting parties with regard to Elder Care issues.

The Mediation Experience

Martha Brown will meet separately with each person involved in the mediation to gain a better understanding of the conflicts that have arisen. As a result of that meeting, Ms. Brown is able to design a process to meet the needs of the conflicting parties. As part of the initial consultation with Ms. Brown, the conflicting parties will determine whether or not they desire to meet separately or jointly. Further, other professionals that may be necessary and other materials that may be needed for the mediation process, in order to reach a resolution of the conflict, will be determined. Other materials may include financial records, medical records, incapacity testing, and any other documents in Elder Care. To begin the mediation process, Ms. Brown requests each party sign an Agreement to Mediate. Upon completion of the mediation process, there will be an agreement between the parties concerning the issues that have been resolved.

The Benefits of Elder Care/Adult Guardianship Mediation

Most Elder Care and Adult Guardianship mediation involves families. The conflict that has arisen because of Elder Care issues and/or Adult Guardianship issues are mostly from familiar relationships. In a court proceeding, which is an adversary proceeding, one side will win and one side will lose. In mediation, the process draws all the needs of all the parties, including the elder, and resolves the issues without the necessity of severing the real relationships between the parties. The end result is the conflict is resolved and all participants can resume their relationship with the elder and each other. That is not always the outcome when the matter is tried in a court of law.

An experienced mediator will note that it is not uncommon for family members to answer these questions differently.

  • Should Mom stay at home?
  • Should Mom go to an assisted living facility?
  • Should all of Mom’s money be spent on Mom’s care?
  • Should Mom make plans for a brother who has Down’s syndrome who has always lived with Mom?

All of these questions can be answered differently by various family members. When family members disagree, tensions build and family relationships begin to unravel. Often families deal with important and difficult decisions. In fact, family members often might not even discuss the situation. However, the crisis will eventually occur, requiring immediate action, in which tempers will flare and conflict will rise. Some family members will seek the advice of an attorney, who will recommend immediate court action. However, mediation can benefit the family members. If family members use an experienced neutral Elder Care Mediator, families can come together in a confidential setting to discuss their concerns and/or issues and hopefully resolve issues concerning the care of family members. Using a mediator can be a less expensive option than the matter proceeding in the court room. During mediation, information is gathered, decisions can be made involving all family members and a resolution of the conflicting goals and priorities of the various family members are made. When a family decision is made, conflict is lessoned.

Caring for someone with dementia and/or other disabilities, it is extremely difficult and trying. The mediation services offered by Martha C. Brown can greatly help families to resolve their conflicts without the necessity of litigation.

For more information on Older Adult Mediation Click Here.

We encourage you to contact our St. Louis attorneys to get the advice you need. Together, we can discuss your long-term goals and advise you on planning that will allow you to reach those goals.