Mary wanted to stay at home and her adult children thought she should be in a home. At the mediation they looked at options that enabled Mary to stay at home safely.
Mary (a widow) lives on her own in the family home with her dog. She has three children (John who lives in USA, Joe who lives locally and Anne who lives quite near to Mary). The children are concerned for their mother’s welfare as she still sleeps upstairs and they are concerned she will trip and fall. They are also concerned that the dog will trip her up. Mary says she does not want to go into a home but the children believe that it will be difficult to provide sufficient care for her at home and believe she should go into a home and the family home be sold to pay for it. The children don’t have a medical assessment of Mary’s condition nor of her care needs. Mary now feels concerned that her children will force her into a home and this is souring her relationship with them. She wants to stay in her own home.
It was clear that the family were close and that this issue was souring the relationship. Through frank discussion between the family members the various issues were raised and through future focussed problem solving the family came to agreement.
Anne got in touch with me and asked me if I could help with a family issue that she and her siblings had with their mother.
I agreed and met each family member separately (John by Skype) for a confidential meeting. During those pre-mediation meetings not only did I listen to the stories that each told and the issues that they had, but I explained the process of mediation and went through the Agreement to Mediate.
On the day of the mediation I met Mary, Anne and Joe and John joined by Skype. Part of my role was to make sure that each person’s views and concerns were known and understood by the others.
The agreement reached was that Mary would be medically assessed and share the results with her children. The same would happen for a care assessment. Once that information was available there would be another meeting at which the family would look at making changes to the family home to accommodate present and future needs. They would get advice from an occupational therapist. This would include putting in a wet room downstairs and possibly moving Mary’s bedroom downstairs. Mary agreed to wear a 24 hour alarm on her wrist so that if she fell she could call for help. Anne would research what care help was available and bring that information to the next meeting. Mary would stay at home as long as was feasible. The dog would be kept downstairs to avoid tripping on the stairs.
The family recognised that they would meet on a regular basis to discuss the changing and evolving care needs of Mary.
The benefit of the mediation was that the interests and needs behind all parties’ positions could be heard and understood by the others. It is much easier for families to have difficult conversations with the help of a facilitative mediator who keeps things on track and future focussed. Once each of the parties understood where the others were coming from they were able to look at options to meet the needs of the parties. The family also recognised that this was going to be ongoing and that the circumstances need to be reviewed regularly and changes made to the plan as appropriate.
As a result of the mediation the Family reached an agreement to enable Mary to stay in her own home for the foreseeable future and the children achieved a level of comfort that if anything happened to their mother she would be able to call for help.