Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

Lidia Casselm whole array of causes. However, over 90% of cases concern family issues. Generally, this is more likely due to their dependent nature within a family. Issues could arise from different life circumstances, such as choosing a nursing home, disputes over caregiving responsibilities or disagreements regarding future financial planning, but it can also concern more severe matters like elder neglect or abuse. This is where elder mediation overlaps with family law. They overlap mainly in purpose – to assure fairness and protection of an elderly person’s rights – but they differ in their approaches. While family law creates a clear and fast way of sorting disputes, it can often be rigid, neglectful of feelings and emotions, and thus imposing a third-party position that cannot be ignored without consequences; a fact that can ruin lives and relationships. By contrast, mediation creates a safer environment that will eventually lead to less ill will due To give our readers a basic foundation, what is meant by ‘elder mediation’? As per the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland, the institution of which I am a member, “Mediation is a process in which an independent, neutral mediator assists two or more disputing parties in resolving the discord in a collaborative, consensual manner.” An ‘elder’ is generally considered to be a person above the age of 60. Therefore, elder mediation is the process of mediation in which an elder could be either a part or a beneficiary. How elder mediation often overlap with family law? Elder mediation can unfold over a My Legal Life The Principles of Elder Mediation The common benefits of mediation over litigation, including reduced costs and a greater chance of an amicable outcome between parties, become even more pronounced when one or more of these parties are elderly. Mediator Lidia Casselman examines these benefits more closely in this article, with a focus on the legal disputes most commonly encountered by the elderly, and shares the philosophy that guides her own practice of elder mediation. 24 LAWYERMONTHLYOCTOBER 2022

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