Improved quality of life for all
Paul’s sister-in-law, Siobhan, was fearful as she had frequently heard Paul shouting
at Jill, her sister who suffers from dementia. Through dialogue in mediation, Paul
her husband and the main carer, realised he needed support and began to see how stressed
he was. During the mediation process Siobhan also began to realise her own panic
came from her distress about her sister’s dementia. Both Paul and Siobhan came to
understand what was happening and how it was distracting them from their time with
Jill. The quality of their relationship got back on track and they were able to support
one another in caring for the person they both loved so much.
Staying at home longer
“Mum and Dad were always so independent, despite the fact that we are all in our
early 40’s we always gravitated to their house for family occasions. I know it’s
strange but we really hadn’t realized just how bad Mum was until Dad got sick. He
covered for her memory loss all the time, answering questions for her and so on.
The Mediators helped us admit what we knew in our hearts that Mum would soon need
residential care. Once we accepted that, things started to improve, through the Mediation
sessions we managed to put together a care plan which meant that they could both
stay at home for a little longer, and that as a family, along with the outside help,
were able to enjoy what time we had left with our parents in the family home”
Returning home from hospital
The medical staff and family of a 92 year old man who had a fall were concerned about
his return home. The man himself was dead set on going home from hospital and wouldn’t
hear of any problems. The family sought the help of elder mediators. “Dad was reluctant
at first and couldn’t understand the need to involve strangers in the family discussion.
However when he met one of the male mediators he really liked him and to our amazement
shared quite a bit about how he thought he would cope. One of my sisters was against
even the idea of him going home, again the mediator spoke with her before our meeting
and she began to see things from Dad’s point of view. At the meeting we discussed
how we as a family could listen to Dad’s wishes and we were able to explain to Dad
how worried we all were about him. It was really tough but the mediators encouraged
us to speak our truth, and Dad softened so much towards us, he spoke about our Mum
and how she was pulled between her elderly parents and us, and how it had nearly
wrecked their marriage. I was amazed at how open he was with us. With the help of
our mediators we put a plan in place to get carers in morning and night time and
we set up a rota for visiting Dad.”
Widening the circle of support
Through Elder Mediation Séan, who had been caring for his wife since her accident,
began to accept the help of others. Close friends and family who wanted to support
them both were willing to help by visiting or by cooking a meal. Séan had found it
impossible to accept help before the mediation because he felt that he should be
able to manage it all on his own. Practical supports like creating a rota for visits
and meals gave Séan the opportunity to take a break and engage in activities and
hobbies on a regular basis.
Elder Mediation is a person-centred service
A social worker working in dementia care who was part of one of our mediations with
a family said: “Person centred service. Process gives the time and reflection other
services cannot. Other services do not have the training for this kind of intervention.
All parties get the chance to express, be heard and responded to.”
Helping a person with dementia stay at home
Following the mediated meeting, the daughter, who had a young family and was extremely
stressed caring for her Mum, said “we would never have achieved so much without the
help of Later Life Mediation mediators”. Practical day to day tasks were scheduled
and shared with all involved in her Mum’s care and she and her sister got a greater
understanding of where each was coming from through the facilitated family conversation.
This helped the family build a platform from where they could take positive actions
at a precious and important time in their lives.
End of life decisions: power of attorney, living wills and decision making
In Ireland people are often afraid to speak about these issues and avoid having conversations
until it is too late. Often while avoiding them they are worrying about what is going
to happen in the future. Elder Mediation can create a safe environment where these
important conversations can take place. When these decisions are made there is a
noticeable reduction in stress, particularly for the older person, and people can
start to enjoy life without the worry. “I wanted certain things to happen after
I die and I was afraid how they (her children) would react. With the help of the
mediators I was able to say how and why I wanted things done in a particular way.
I was so surprised and happy with the way my children responded. The mediators really
Clearing the air so important issues can be addressed
The consultant who diagnosed his patient’s early onset dementia said the intervention
by the elder mediators “took the heat out of a conflict within a family” prior to
his holding a family meeting to discuss the diagnosis.
Disability Service transitioning service users into the community
Very often families are fearful of their adult child/sibling with an intellectual
disability moving from the care home to the community. The Director of Nursing welcomed
the input of mediation and recommended the benefit of using the intervention as early
as possible in the process. Family members felt their concerns were heard more clearly.
NOTE: The names of the people above have been changes to protect their identity
and to maintain confidentiality.