Elder Care Mediation in the Limelight

ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson recently filmed an Elder-care Mediation piece featuring Louise Phipps Senft. Louise had been working with a family facing the numerous difficulties that people with aging parents face.

ABC’s Piece on Elder-Care Mediation

Through years of sibling estrangement and decades of a somewhat tumultuous relationship with their mother, three siblings committed themselves to the mediation process and were able to come together to galvanize and honor their mother’s living will that requested she be kept alive under any circumstances. During this time their mother fell ill and was being kept alive with the assistance of a feeding tube and respirator.

Through a series of mediations over three weeks Louise was able to assist the family with decisions pertaining to power of attorney, how to interface with their mother’s medical care team and how to listen to and work with each other. This open forum for dialogue allowed the family to work together and request that their mother’s care team minimize her pain medication to provide their mother with some coherence, if there was any, to ask if her living will directive was still her wish. A moment of theirs mother’s consciousness led to her faintly motioning for removal. Their mother peacefully passed away shortly afterwards.

The siblings were happy to have the opportunity to be part of a process that let them wrestle through this difficult time together. Mediation not only allowed this family to strengthen their sibling relationship but also also provided a sense of closure to the parental relationship and everyone felt at peace.

ABC’s Piece provides insight on the opportunities mediation can present families like this one and others facing difficult conversations and the many stresses found in elder care decision-making.