Why do some families need mediation at the end of life? Mediation is a voluntary process in which the parties, with the help of an impartial third party mediator, work together to resolve their differences or solve a problem they were unable to address satisfactorily without help. These family differences especially happen to dysfunctional families but can beset any family at the end of life. They are faced with overwhelming emotions and decisions that demand that the family work together as a team. What happens to dysfunctional and even nearly normal families during this trying time? They don’t gather as a team. They fight. They fret and they feud. What are the results of this fighting, fretting and feuding in families at the end of life?
Unresolved family conflicts emerge
Dysfunctional families become more dysfunctional
Family members’ grief, pain and anxiety are often masked as anger and presents as conflict (past and present)
Older person dies without resolving important family issues
Older person dies in conflict, not in peace
I will speaking this Friday April 19, 2013, at National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers on “The GCM as the Accidental Mediator: Fretting and Fighting or Feuding: Intergenerational Conflict in the Adult Family at End of Life”, in Philadelphia, Penna.
If you are attending the conference, I will look forward to meeting you.
May is National Geriatric Care Manager’s Month I will be speaking at the 29th annual Conference of the National Association of Professional Care Manager’s in Philadelphia on Friday April 19th. I will cover the thorny topic, The GCM as the Accidental Mediator: Fretting and Fighting or Feuding: Intergenerational Conflict in the Adult Family at End of Life. If you are interested in attending and learning more you can still register and attend the conference. . If you are considering this growing profession, I wrote the textbook Handbook of Geriatric Care Management,that is now out in it’s 3rd edition. If you think of opening a GCM agency, I just published the first manual on how to operate a geriatric care management agency My Geriatric Care Management Operations Manual.
Whether you and your adult siblings employ formal paid caregivers or one or more adult siblings are doing the care themselves, a family meeting about caregiving issues in vital part of caring for an aging parent.
Why should you and your adult siblings organize and run a caregiver family meeting? Caregiver burnout is one of the main reasons aging parents are placed in a nursing home unnecessarily. A family caregiver’s, who can one of your siblings or even your aging mother, risks serious injury, depression and even death in caregiving for older adults. Caregiver stress and burden and how to deal with that caregiver overwhelm, is an essential reason for a caregiver family meeting.
A second main reason to have a caregiver family meeting is to fairly divide up the care among the adult siblings and family. Having one sibling caregiver or one aging spouses assume most of the care creates caregiver burden, risking physical and mental breakdown of the caregiver.
So adult siblings should hold a caregiver family meeting preferably ahead of a crisis, or in that crisis to save the main family caregiver, usually a sibling or spouse, from about throwing up her hands and quitting.
What can you do in a caregiver family meeting? You can put together a critical action plan or list to solve caregiver problems for the immediate safety of the caregiver and the care receiver. (elder who is receiving care)
I would highly recommend hiring a geriatric care manager to do a caregiver assessment before the meeting. The geriatric care manager can objectively and professionally assess both the caregiver and care receiver and give the family important feedback. The GCM can advise you as an adult sibling family, on both the issues to cover in the family meeting and how to set up and run the caregiver family meeting. The geriatric care manager can help key members organize the meeting.
If you are a” nearly normal family,” and all siblings locks arms in a crisis, the GCM can act as a facilitator, because facilitation is a meeting management skill. If you are a dysfunctional family and instead of locking arms the siblings blame each other in a crisis the GCM will probably suggest a mediator.
A professional mediator will organize and manage a sibling family meeting on caregiving that can successfully reconcile alienated siblings with each other and bring them back into the sibling group.
The mediator can then organize the adult siblings and larger family to solve the caregiver issues, before the caregiving of an aging parents breaks down and the disaster could have been avoided with the caregiver family meeting, with the help and professional guidance of a geriatric care manager.
Do you have midlife sibling communication problems? Is one sibling not speaking to another? Is a sibling cut from the rest of the family? Do you just have trouble getting through to the sister who always bossed you around as a kid? Is the root a much deeper trail to a darker part of your childhood?
One or more brothers or sisters may realize that his or her siblings have difficulty in communicating. They would like to change that dynamic and work to become a more friendly, loving team in midlife and through the second half of their life. Consider a family meeting on midlife sibling communication.