Can an elderly parent continue to live alone? Is it time to take away a parent’s driver’s license? What if one sibling is stuck with providing most of the care for an elderly parent?
Even the most harmonious families can become deeply divided over these and other elder care issues. In families where tensions are already frayed, disagreements can lead to crises and lawsuits.
A program known as “elder caring coordination,” available in Indiana and recently adopted in Florida seeks to reduce the harm to seniors resulting from so-called ““high-conflict family dynamics.”
The project seeks to use alternative dispute resolution techniques to mediate disputes between warring family members. The goal is to get an elderly parent the care he or she needs while minimizing tension and litigation. It spares courts from having micromanage elder care decisions better left in the hands of family members.
The program will seek to help families that are struggling with problems involving home care, transportation, living arrangements, and more. Though designed for the care of the elderly by their offspring, it is modeled on programs designed to ensure that children get the care they need from parents in conflict.
For families that agree to participate in the program, a court assigns a coordinator to mediate disputes. If the family cannot agree on a solution to a problem involving an elderly parent, the coordinator can decide for them. If it works as intended, the program will result in better care for seniors, less legal expense for families, and shorter legal dockets. It should also allow for more attention to critical issues such as advance directives, health care proxies, estate and financial planning, and other crucial topics for the elderly.
Caring for the elderly remains an enormous practical and psychological challenge. Whether you are caring for a parent or are a senior worried about your own future, elder care coordination is just one of many strategies to consider. An experienced elder law attorney can give you the expert advice you need.