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The New Mexico Elder Mediation Network provides skilled family facilitation and conflict resolution for Elders and their families, their caretakers and other associations.

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• Trained Objective Third Party
• Skilled In Conflict Resolution
• Efficient & Sensitive Solution

(505) 249-6510

Si se solicita, la mediacion puede ser en Español

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WHAT IS THE GOAL OF ELDER MEDIATION?
Elder mediation benefits families who are unable to engage constructively in difficult conversations on behalf of aging loved ones. It is a process where two or more parties meet with an impartial mediator (or co-mediators) to resolve differences. Rather than imposing any decisions, the mediator guides the parties, using techniques that foster effective communication.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ELDER MEDIATION?
The benefits of elder mediation include improved communication among family members, avoidance of unnecessary litigation, respect for the elder’s dignity, and imaginative problem-solving. The plans and agreements which form the end product of the mediation are made by those who are directly affected by the situation. Parties usually report greater satisfaction with the outcome of mediation than with decisions imposed by a court. Finally, practice with conflict resolution techniques during mediation may allow the parties to resolve future conflicts without assistance.

IS ELDER MEDIATON FOR US?
Fortunately, many families who reach an impasse with elder care decisions are now turning to elder care mediation to help resolve disputes and preserve family relationships. A mediator is a third-party professional trained in conflict resolution. A mediator helps diffuse the clash and guides families through a process of finding common ground and respectful solutions to the difficult issues of caring for an aging relative.

Mediation does not involve the court system, so it’s typically more affordable and takes less time. Mediation is not counseling, but does involve all parties sharing their perspective, opinions and even emotions. One of the main goals is universal agreement on the best care possible for the senior family member. 

Mediation also can involve the participation of an elder law attorney, geriatric care manager, financial planner and others who can add their expertise to the conversations.

WHERE DOES MEDIATION TAKE PLACE?
Elder mediation takes place in a variety of settings, from senior service agencies, to elders’ homes, to offices of private mediators. Where mediation is available from senior service agencies, the scope of mediation may be limited to a defined range of issues. The potential scope of private mediations can include a broad range of complex, multi-party issues.

HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE?
The number of mediation sessions required may vary considerably. Sometimes, one meeting of two or three hours with all parties present is sufficient. In other cases, there may be several meetings over a period of weeks. Occasionally, out-of-state parties may participate by telephone or video conference.

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE DON’T RESOLVE OUR CONFLICT?
An example: Daughter Darcy files a petition to be appointed the conservator of her father Hank’s person and property. Her step-mother, Monica, insists that everything is just fine in their home, and is extremely angry with Darcy for interfering. Monica feels that Darcy is publicly declaring that Monica’s care-giving is inadequate. The rhetoric escalates, and bitter litigation ensues. The judge ultimately appoints a third party (non-relative) as conservator of Hank’s person and property. The conservator moves Hank into an assisted living facility, and Monica moves with him. The litigation causes a permanent rupture between Darcy and her father.

WHAT ARE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES WITH MEDIATION?
An example: Darcy contacts a mediator, and then calls Hank, Monica, and her sister Bella, to explain that she has some concerns which she would like to discuss. The mediator meets with all parties in a joint session, and they agree on ground rules. Each party takes a turn to air his or her concerns. The mediator helps them to identify what they really need for a successful outcome. Monica is reassured that the daughters are not trying to separate her from her husband; she learns that the daughters are worried that the care-giving burden on Monica is overwhelming her. Monica admits that she is struggling to care for the two of them, and her own blood-pressure is soaring. She starts crying. With the mediator’s help, they agree that Bella will contact a home-care agency, to request someone to help a few hours per day with cleaning, shopping, cooking and driving. They agree to meet in a month to see how the new plan is working. The parties all feel that their concerns have been heard, respected, and addressed. The parties have a plan to continue working together for additional solutions if it turns out that more than a few hours per day of assistance is required. Unnecessary litigation is avoided.

WHAT IF I NEED LEGAL ADVICE?
The NM Elder Mediation Network does not provide legal advice, information or services. For legal advice, contact the Senior Law Center at www.sclonm.org. For a full range of legal services contact Decades at www,decadesgroup.com. You may also want to contact an elder law attorney at: https://www.steffyfirm.com/attorneys-1.html. Additional elder law resources can be found at the NM Bar Association: www.nmbar.org

The NM Elder Mediation Network does not provide legal information or legal services. Please refer to the FAQ page for further information.
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