Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

to its more personal and empowering approach. What are the more common health or legal issues experienced by the elderly that a mediator can assist with? There is no conflict in which mediation cannot play a significant part, whenever the parties involved are willing. Any conflict implies hard feelings, sentiments of mistrust, hate and, most of all, fear. The most common issues we see solved using mediation are conflicts within families regarding elder care, such as personal preferences, the type of medical approach that should be followed, mistreatment, abuse, and financial pressure related to nursing care. We also see conflicts between a nursing home and the family of a resident, or conflicts between staff of nursing homes and their elderly victims. Some nursing homes see the mediator as part of the ’family’ and mediation is a more advantageous and financially viable tool of sorting these internal and external disputes. Other conflicts refer to issues between an elderly person and friends or neighbours, former employers, health care facilities or other governmental institutions, just to name a few. In what way does mediation help to address these problems? The common denominator of all conflicts is a loss or the threat of a loss. This loss can have a material form, like a financial loss or the loss of material good: a car, a house, etc. In other cases, it may be an immaterial loss, such as loss of a right or of an advantage. Every loss is accompanied by a deep sense of injustice and fear. The elderly are a vulnerable category and, although most of them do not show it or verbalise it, they surely feel it. Mediation, as a process, offers a very human approach to both the person and the issue. We start by addressing the feelings and emotions of the client and, once the client feels understood and accepted, the process progresses towards the brainstorming part of the mediation that will more likely conclude in a practical solution that will deliberately benefit all parties involved. The mediation process gives the subject the confidence they need in order to find within them a desire and strength for a solution. What does the typical mediation process look like? What makes the mediation process unique is its complement of features: it is a voluntary process that is private, confidential, informal and flexible, with no The elderly are a vulnerable category and, although most of them do not show it or verbalise it, they surely feel it. 26 LAWYERMONTHLYOCTOBER 2022

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