How we can help
When your family faces decisions about age related issues, it can seem difficult
to communicate and make decisions together given the many different perspectives
and emotions involved. Facilitated family meetings enable families to make decisions
in a way that can both prepare for the future and preserve relationships.
Our Mediators are professionals familiar with the ageing process and all the issues
involved. We facilitate family discussions and ensure that the rights and wishes
of the older person are
respected. Difficult topics can be addressed in a safe and constructive process.
What are specific types of situations in which facilitation can be helpful?
Each family has specific needs but the issues commonly addressed include:
The level of care that may be needed for a loved one
Living arrangements/ Nursing Home decisions
Care giving roles and responsibilities
Conflicting perceptions, interpretations and values
Finances and bill paying
Personal property distribution
Driving and transportation
Medical and end-of-life decisions
Facilitation works because Facilitators:
help families to communicate more effectively in order to reach an agreement about
create a safe space to talk
help participants to express what is important to them so that others can hear
reality-test options suggested and assist you to determine what additional information
you may need to make well-considered decisions.
A lot of families find it difficult to initiate and have such discussions on their
own. With the best will in the world, often families fall into familiar roles when
difficult decisions have to be made; one member may dominate discussions and others
might have difficulty being heard - that’s where Later Life Mediation can help. Our
role is to facilitate a conversation where all voices are heard in order to obtain
the best possible outcome for all concerned.
What is the difference between family meetings and mediation?
For a facilitated family meeting, the mediator/s meets all participants together
for the first time at the joint meeting. There is no private meeting/conversation
with each participant prior to the family meeting.
Prior to a mediation, the mediator will speak with each participant and get his/her
perspective on the issues and how they might be resolved. Mediation tends to be more
suitable than facilitation for more complex situations or where there are already
significant disagreements among participants.
What happens when I contact Later Life Mediation?
The person who contacts the service explains why a facilitated family meeting is
being considered and who might be involved. If facilitation is appropriate, the mediator
will ask the caller to contact other family members to see if they would be interested
in participating in a family meeting. (Family meetings usually involve older people
and their family members. However, sometimes it is appropriate to involve friends,
neighbours, paid caregivers or health professionals.)
The next step is a meeting where all of the participants are present with the mediator
allowing issues to be aired in order to resolve them or to agree the best way forward.
What participants say
Here are some quotations from people who have used this type of service:
‘Talking makes help and support more likely to happen. It also makes the family
understand what day-to-day living is like’
‘We had a situation that was full of opposing views and opinions. We all care about
each other in our family, but things have a way of getting too personal. We needed
someone to help us move forward’