“Coping with aging parents” is a phrase often used by frustrated adult children. Not surprisingly, their parents often feel equally frustrated.
This is why a key element of our consulting services is family facilitation.
We use the term “facilitation” rather than “mediation” for a few key reasons. “Mediation” often refers to an alternative dispute resolution process applied to a matter that is the subject of a lawsuit. Although I am a trained mediator, my strong preference is to facilitate conflict resolution, coach problem solving strategies and co-create action plans outside of litigation. Exceptions will be considered and mediations are conducted for either a half-day or full day.
Even in the best of circumstances, helping parents deal with the complexities of aging means facing conflict and hard decisions against a backdrop of emotion. My effectiveness depends primarily on my client’s willingness to trust me and be a partner in meaningful, respectful discussions. The integrity of the process is actually more important than reaching a specific result or decision. When a savvy problem solving process is followed, sensible solutions are easier to recognize.
My approach is empathetic but solution oriented with an emphasis on results that work for the involved senior while balancing autonomy, personal preferences, safety, wellness and practicality. Should a senior be unwilling or unable to meaningfully participate, there is still great value in adult siblings reaching a consensus consistent with the above principles. Every challenge has a solution and coping with aging parents is no different. Even conflict has upsides and one of them is personal growth.
Family facilitations are available either in person (my office or alternate site in Denver and Front Range), by telephone or video conference (Go to Meeting). Facilitations may be arranged by referral or as part of the development of a GPS (Guided Plan for Seniors) package service plan.