Managing Conflicts in Financial and Health Care

Making Peace with the Past ∙ Engaging Stakeholders ∙ Elder’s Right to Choose

Conflicts often arise in families where there has been a decline in the older adult’s health over matters such as when and what type of caregiver assistance is needed or if the older person has the capacity to make their own financial and health care decisions. In other instances there may be conflict over the access and use of the financial resources of the elder person by family members. Conflict between elders and their families on issues such as these, if not resolved before they escalate, may result in estranged families or costly legal battles.

What makes elder mediation the most challenging is the legacy of family dynamics and the number of people that would be involved or have a direct interest in the conflict. Most conflicts are between two parties. In elder mediation the parties in the conflict not only include the elder person but likely several children, the spouse or life partner, a multitude of health care professionals and community agencies and in some cases legal authorities to protect the legal rights of the elder person. It is critical to identify and engage all relevant stakeholders to create that “circle of care” in order to find a sustainable resolution to elder conflict. Sometimes the conflict is not even about the care or elder person but about unresolved family hurts and conflict or sibling rivalries that have splintered families. Part of PRM Mediation’s approach is to make peace with the past in order to focus on the future needs of the elder person.

An elder person under law is considered capable until proven otherwise to make their own decisions including but not limited to property; health care – at home, in the community, in the hospital or in continuing care and long-term care facilities; housing and living arrangements; driving; and relationships. At PRM Mediation we give voice to the elder person’s right to choose their outcome or finding an advocate for them.

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