When an elderly parent reaches the point where they need assistance with their daily living tasks, caregiver duties often fall on the shoulders of their adult children. In some families, the caregiving responsibilities are divided between siblings or other relatives. Ideally, everyone sharing in those duties will be on the same page when it comes to making decisions. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. At some point, caregivers may find themselves in disagreement with very little hope of resolution.
One of the most important things a caregiver needs is a strong support system, and one of the best places to find support is from others who are in the same situation. Siblings who are taking care of their elderly parents should be able to turn to one another. However, when conflict arises between them, it breaks that circle of support. It can create tension, resentment, and in extreme circumstances, lead to litigation.
Rather than allowing conflicts between caregivers to reach that point, the better option is to get disagreements under control as soon as they begin to build. If the parties involved are unable to come to a resolution on their own, mediation is usually preferable to taking matters to court. If the court gets involved, the decision will fall into the hands of a judge who has very little knowledge of the situation and isn’t familiar with the people involved. A mediator, on the other hand, leads the parties toward reaching an agreement amongst themselves instead of making a decision for them.
Mediation has become an effective tool in divorce and custody cases and has also been useful in other situations involving conflict resolution. Because of its association with legal proceedings, mediation is often misunderstood to be just a step on the path towards litigation when it’s actually quite the opposite. In mediation, the facilitator is a neutral third party who refrains from offering opinions or advice. While some mediators may be elder law attorneys, they are not there to give legal advice or represent any of the parties. Further, the mediators cannot bind either party to a decision – their only interest is in guiding the parties toward working out their differences between themselves and reaching an agreement.
If you find yourself in a position where you and your co-caregivers are battling over issues involving your aging parent’s care, talk to them about using mediation to resolve those conflicts before doing irreparable damage to your relationships that can ultimately have a negative effect on your ability to provide your loved one with the best care that they deserve.
Our attorneys here at Martin Lawyers, are here to sit down collectively with your family to help you determine the best path forward. To schedule an appointment with a Tarrant County elder law attorney, simply call our firm at (817) 752-3307.