Family Mediation for Elder Issues

Family Mediation for Elder Issues by Sandy Balick{2:54 minutes to read} In the minds of many, family mediation is usually associated with the contentious subjects of separation and divorce. But increasingly, family mediation is showing its value as a way to resolve a wide range of challenging family-related issues, particularly those involving aging individuals.

It differs from divorce mediation only in the objective. While divorce revolves around the dissolution of a marriage, the mediation of elder issues is all about the creation of improved family situations and better interpersonal relationships within the family.

This is not family therapy, but a means of tackling such difficult issues as aging adults, family business or investment succession, and other matters that commonly arise in the familial context.

Three areas of issues lend themselves well to family mediation.


Health-related issues and their inevitable direct financial implications are frequent topics of family concern, stress, and disagreement. Contentious disputes impede problem solving and have the potential to aggravate the prevailing circumstances.


Health issues aside, money-related issues are a famous source of familial stress and disagreement. This may especially be the case where there is a family business or investment, and where only sketchy plans exist for how the assets (and for that matter, liabilities) will be handled upon the passing of an owner or one with a very large stake in the involved assets.

Smaller Issues

Almost anything can generate concerns or tensions between multiple family members, even when the ultimate objective wouldn’t strike many people as being contentious. For example, such situations are presented when parents, whether married or single, seek to relocate distantly for retirement purposes. Grown sons and daughters may have concerns over:

  • Parental security;

  • Ease of visitation; and

  • Fears over diminished contact, etc.

The decision to relocate is clearly the parents’ to make, yet family members may value the opportunity to discuss the situation, offer appropriate expressions of concern, and perhaps suggest measures that might alleviate those concerns.

There is something magical about the mediation forum — it is outside of the home and free of distractions and associations that may impede discussion. The presence of a neutral, disinterested party — the mediator — helps to facilitate discussion and to identify topics for further discussion.

Next time: how does it work in practice?

Sanford (Sandy) Balick, Attorney & Mediator, NY Sandy Balick signature
Sanford E. Balick, Esq.
Founder & Principal Mediator
Consensus Point Mediation, LLC.

Phone: (646) 340-3434
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