To face the possibilities offered by mediation, you must first understand what it consists of.

It is a mechanism to resolve conflicts in which the parties themselves voluntarily contact a mediator who facilitates communication between them and helps them find the solution themselves.

In addition to being voluntary, mediation is confidential. The mediator acts in a completely neutral and impartial manner, and the participants can leave the process if they wish. What is said in the mediation session stays there.

Mediation not only works to solve the specific and specific problem, but also to create a space for the parties to learn to communicate and resolve new situations that may arise.

Seen this way, mediation undoubtedly offers many advantages because the parties are the real protagonists. Unlike what can happen in a trial, no one is going to decide for them. They have everything to achieve and nothing to lose.

All these cases sound familiar to you, right? Well, in this transition, mediation can be very useful to better face new needs.

Understanding: the basis of everything

At a first level, it is about making our eldest understand, with affection and respect, that his situation has changed and that he needs help. Often this first transition turns into a continuous pilgrimage of caregivers. Many times, not because they are not good professionals, but because of the deep animosity that the “patient” has for them. Thus, the work becomes absolutely unbearable.

Without a doubt, it is very hard to recognize that “I have grown older.” The subject asks himself: “I can no longer do the same things, but from there to that I stop being an adult and that others can decide behind my back about me life there is an abyss. It is true that there may be gaps in my memory, even some disorder, but if it is going to decide how and in what way I am going to spend the rest of my days, at least I should have the opportunity to give an opinion”.


The mediator has the skills and techniques necessary to make the elderly feel heard and also to make them understand their new needs.

In this way, the appropriate space is generated for them to actively participate in decision-making and thus involve them together with the rest of the family in the problem and its solution, thus giving them back the prominence that they should never have lost.

Using mediation, you have a better chance of actually resolving the situation because our senior has recognized that he needs help and has at least intervened in the decision.

When the mediator is indispensable

The second level at which mediation can be useful is for those cases in which the situation requires a greater and urgent intervention, in which the different members of the family must be involved.

Sometimes this will be the level that is accessed directly, because there is no prior transition period. The children, grandchildren, nephews, etc., of these elders have to sit down and talk in an adult, polite and responsible way. The mediator is a very useful, if not essential, instrument to facilitate communication.

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Some family members may offer their availability for care, due to not having sufficient resources. Others prefer to contribute financially, assume the management of the estate or accompany the doctors and obtain the prescriptions.

In any case, all these options can be explored and the elderly’s needs and also the preferences and availability of each of the family members can be brought to light, involving them in decision-making. Everyone must take responsibility for the decisions that are made, which will imply a much greater chance of success.

In this way, it is possible to reestablish communication so that the family knows how to adapt flexibly, without the weight of the elderly having to fall exclusively on a single person.

On many occasions, the fact that the family does not sit down to speak in an orderly and respectful way to deal with the problem together, generates and accumulates misunderstandings, abuse and contempt. These can have a negative impact not only on the care and visits to the elderly person, but also on the family itself. It can even permanently damage your balance.

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Opt for a residence

Finally, the third level of intervention with mediation would be at the healthcare level. It is about trying to better manage the communication of the elderly and their family with professionals: professional caregivers, doctors, ATS, physiotherapists, cleaners, cooks …

The accommodation to the rules of coexistence of a residence is not always easy. The elderly and their relatives go from full freedom in timetables, food or leisure to having to accept the rules and schedules of the center, which can imply drastic changes in habits.

To the extent that mediation is used to manage the disagreements that may exist on issues such as medication, hygiene, quantity and quality of food, way of giving food, schedules, shared spaces, etc., coexistence will be improved and it will enhance respect for essential rules, without the need to impose them.

Many of the problems that are generated in this area do not derive from pathologies or care models, but are communication problems. The reason is that the appropriate channels are not established to manage quickly, effectively and, above all, respectfully, the disagreements that will inevitably occur. There are already some residences that have realized the usefulness of mediation and offer it from the patient care services themselves.

In short, mediation is a good resource, useful, agile, friendly and respectful, which allows us to work towards the future in a positive way.

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Thanks to this figure, the best options can be explored so that our elders are always the best assisted possible, while their opinion is respected and listened to.

In this way, our elder will never feel belittled and the family’s involvement in decision-making will be increased. This allows everyone to take responsibility for negotiating, rather than imposing, the measures. This helps family members have a solid foundation to face the difficulties that life may bring them.

That is why from here I encourage you that if you have felt identified with any of these problems, if you consider that the situation is disturbing your family order, do not hesitate contact and go to an expert and professional family mediator.

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Junalene Sumbalan