Resolving Family Disputes: Using Mediation in Senior Care
This week we had the enlightening experience to visit with Elder Law attorney Nancy Milton of Progress Mediation in Elk Grove. The service is run by Nancy and her Partner Dominic Vessigault. Progress Mediation has been serving our community for 9 years now. Nancy has been a mediator since 1991, having earned her law degree in 1994 at McGeorge School of Lax.
Mediation plays an important role in helping to heal families being torn apart by sibling rivalries. These disputes are all too common when aging parents get to the point where they are losing their independence and cannot completely care for themselves anymore. Sometimes there is an honest disagreement about how the care should be administered: who is going to be the primary caregiver, who is best qualified to manage the money, where is the elder going to live…. Other times there are cultural disagreements when the care is not being conducted in compliance with cultural traditions. And all too often there are claims of dishonesty and corruption being leveled at one or more family members. Without mediation these cases end up in court, being fought over and argued for years. The only winners in these cases are the attorneys who rack up thousands of billable hours.
Mediation can bring peaceful resolution to these cases, saving the families thousands of dollars and preserving an estate for the inheritance of the children. This process is always confidential and cannot even be subpoenaed in court.
Nancy shared one of her fondest cases with us. It was a cultural dispute involving the siblings of and East Indian family. In that culture, traditionally the eldest son provides the care. There were 7 siblings in the family, and when they came in, mom (who was severely demented and could not help with the resolution) was living with two of the daughters. This pitted the two daughters against the other 5 siblings who were ready to take the case to court to get control away from the two daughters. After a few meetings, both sides came to a workable compromise. The eldest son was granted regular visitation to satisfy the cultural needs, and peace was restored to the family, saving untold thousands of dollars and sparing the family from years of unnecessary pain and heartache.
With the explosion in our aging population and all the family and financial troubles this brings, Nancy’s services are a great contribution to our Community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR