Wise Talk: for seniors, their families and their communities
"I'm the caregiver for my mom and uncle. There’s too much to do. I’m overwhelmed and they don’t see how hard it is for me."
"Before mediation, I felt like my kids were forcing me to move to the senior center. Now, I feel like it’s my choice to decide where I want to live."
"I was fighting with my brother over who should get mom’s house now that she has passed away. Mediation helped us figure out what to do and finally, we can talk to each other again."
How Elder Mediation Works
In mediation people can:
- decide and prioritize what issues they need to discuss,
- make decisions about what to do about the situation,
- develop understanding of other points of view,
- create written agreements when needed.
Mediation provides a forum for face-to-face conversations about the issues important to them. It’s both a voluntary and confidential process that can help seniors, family members, and community members have difficult conversations that are facilitated by an impartial mediator. Mediators help communication and support the parties own decision-making.
Based on decisions reached during mediation, an written agreement can be created and a copy provided to all parties. Agreements are only written when all parties decide they would like one.
Common Issues for Mediation
Typical issues that people discuss in mediation are:
- Caregiving decisions,
- Living arrangements,
- Financial and legal decisions,
- Guardianship and alternatives,
- Neighbor or roommate conflicts,
- Planning with hospitals, nursing homes or senior citizen housing,
- Any issue impacting the lives of older adults and their families.
Mediators can facilitate conversations between family members, neighbors, service providers and clients, and others so that they may share information, clarify intentions, develop options, gain understanding while engaging in inclusive decision-making.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I begin the mediation process?
Contact the Mediation Center for a private, in-person, confidential intake appointment. A staff member will meet with all parties including seniors in their homes to conduct the intake process. An intake session is designed to learn more about the situation and explain how mediation works in more depth, but there is no obligation to mediate. Mediation is provided when all parties have decided that they want to schedule a session.
Can mediation be offered when parties don’t live in Dutchess County?
Yes, it is common to have some of the parties living outside of Dutchess County. They can either participate by phone or if possible, come to Dutchess County to participate.
Who are the mediators?
Elder mediators are professionally trained staff and volunteers that have received extensive training in mediation with elders. They understand the unique needs of older adults that often include providing sessions at a senior’s home or community setting, making sure that the mediation is scheduled for a time of day that is optimal for the his/her participation and that any special needs to increase participation are met.