Retirement Planning, Elder Law, and Senior Finance

10/7/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Whenever more than one adult child is involved in caring for a senior parent, the potential for disputes is heightened. Fortunately, most adult siblings can set aside these differences and work together. However, sometimes family members cannot (or choose not to) find common ground. Instead, they re-hash old disagreements, even forming factions that make resolutions all but impossible. While these family feuds are playing out, the older adult becomes lost and forgotten in the fighting, and their care often suffers.

Scenarios like this have led to a promising new approach, giving the courts a new way to respond. It’s called eldercaring coordination, and a court’s order to participate in it provides families with a way to resolve disputes and ensures accountability from those caring for the elderly adult.

What is eldercaring coordination?

Eldercaring coordination is designed to resolve disputes in cases where a higher level of conflict is evident among family members. The court appoints a specially trained coordinator to assist the older adult, authorized decision-makers, and anyone else invited to participate. The goal is to resolve family disputes regarding the senior’s needs for safety and independence.

This eldercare dispute resolution process does not replace mediators, lawyers, therapists, financial advisors, or any other professionals. Instead, the process complements these services, providing support and a more holistic environment where families can work through their differences.

Under what conditions do courts order eldercaring coordination?

A court orders eldercaring coordination to ensure an aging person’s safety and care, especially when determining that family conflicts jeopardize those goals. The courts often order eldercare dispute resolution in the following cases:

  • Multiple court motions citing non-legal issues or competing petitions for appointment as a guardian or conservator
  • When there are concerns over an aging person’s care and safety
  • Imbalances of power where only some parties have legal representation
  • Frequent disputes concerning immeasurable or unconfirmed issues
  • Possessive or controlling behaviors toward the aged person
  • In cases where mediation has not been successful

What is the role of an eldercaring coordinator?

Eldercaring coordinators have the education, conflict resolution skills, and experience to work with the senior, family members, and other professionals to:

  • Manage high-conflict family situations
  • Assist with the creation and execution of an effective plan for eldercare
  • Enhance safety by monitoring at-risk situations
  • Support the older adult’s independence
  • Create a support system for the elder and family

Eldercaring coordinators are appointed for a term of up to two years, giving them sufficient time to identify and reduce risks, address elder abuse issues, and lay the foundation for harmonious collaboration among family members.

What are the benefits of eldercaring coordination?

This initiative to provide elder justice is designed to help older adults, families, and the courts mitigate conflict about the safety and care of the elderly. Some of its benefits include:

  • Minimizing family conflict by shifting the focus from conflicts and blame to the welfare of the aging person and the strengths of the family
  • Generating more ideas that provide options that work better for the elder and the family
  • Curtailing delays in decisions concerning medical treatment
  • Saving money and time since fees are shared and non-legal issues are resolved without waiting for court hearings
  • Defining roles more clearly, for more appropriate expectations and less contention
  • Identifying and addressing problems earlier, providing quicker attention to the elder’s needs
  • Identifying available resources sooner, so the elder receives care more promptly
  • Providing an atmosphere of neutrality where there is a higher chance of cooperation

Although lawyers and mediators have been resolving disputes involving aging adults for many years, eldercaring coordinators are showing proficiency at settling emotionally charged disagreements over the care and finances of aging parents. Unlike mediation, where parties generally participate willingly, eldercaring coordination is reserved for families in conflict who reject a conventional mediation process.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff