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What is Elder and Adult Family Mediation?

Gene Kirzhner April 8, 2012

Most of what we term mediation involves a process wherein litigants or contestants (or a group of people) with a problem participate in a process with a neutral mediator in order to find common ground by defining issues, exploring options and finding a solution. The participants make the decisions. The mediator(s) act as guides but do not judge or impose a solution.

In the case of “ELDER AND ADULT FAMILY MEDIATION” the process is utilized by elders, families with an elder involved, and families with no elder involved. The term has been coined to distinguish these mediations from “Family Law or Divorce” mediations. What type of problems fall into this category? In the “Elder” type are: Guardianships, Inter-generational issues; Advance Directives and Powers of Attorney; Estate Planning and all other family issues involving either an elder or elders and others. The “Adult Family” type might involve sibling disputes or rivalries, post-death problems or any other family problems that do not necessarily involve an elder.

The Rhode Island Mediator’s Association is hosting a seminar regarding this type of mediation on April 18, 2012. Crystal Thorpe, a mediator and co-founder of Elder Decisions®, in MA will describe the landscape of Elder and Adult Family Mediation and how it differs from other types of mediation. She will share her insights on why families come to mediation, who should be at the table, and the model her firm employs to serve clients. Jeremy Howe and Nancy Johnson-Gallagher (co-mediators at Partners In Mediation in RI) will also share their individual and joint perspective(s) on elder mediation in the Ocean State. Jeremy is an Elder Law Attorney and Nancy has extensive experience working with elders. This program will include a discussion of cases and it will highlight some of the challenges and benefits of this new area of mediation. If you are interested in attending please visit Rhode Island Mediators.