Kinship Conversations

Family decisions affecting the oldest generation: 

Elders, seniors, parents or grandparents – The name you use in your family may be different but the concerns are probably common to all families!

How can kinship conversations help families make decision?

Stories from families:

“One of my sisters lives in Vermont and the other lives in New York. My mother lives here with me and she is starting to fail. She refuses to move to a facility. I feel like I am on my own taking care of her while trying to take care of myself and my own family as well. How can my sisters help me from far away?” 

“I had a simple fender bender and now my children – adult children, I might add – think that I can not manage my own affairs. We need help to really talk about what I can do and what I actually do need help with!”

“Mom called me and asked me to be executor of her will and also her financial power of attorney. I think this will cause some anger and competition with my brother and sister. We need a plan about how to help mom in a way that does not make us crazy at each other!” 

The Family Cottage:  The matriarch of the family wrote a will that that gave the loved lake front cottage to whichever of her children lived the longest.  The adult brothers and sisters were angry and sad that they could not promise their children that they would, someday, share the cottage with their children.  Everyone felt that they would lose their heritage.  With mediation they developed a vision they could share with their mother and asked her to consider changing her will. Crisis among siblings was averted.

Grandmother has a guardian but the family does not trust him. The court said the guardian could help her take care of her money and pay her bills. But the family does not see that she has enough new clothing and notice she is wearing last year’s coat. Mediation & Facilitation Resources contacted the guardian who agreed to attend a family meeting. The meeting offered a chance to review reports of expenditures and discussed, as a family, the needs and desires. With a renewed understanding of how her personal needs will be met, the trust was restored and a court intervention was avoided!

Do these stories sound all too familiar? Many families just don’t know how to navigate these decisions. The emotional content is hard but so are the concrete choices around resources, independence and services! As a consequence, feelings can be hurt and family functioning can suffer.

Every family has challenges. When aging issues start to arise, families often experience new stress and conflict. Many families want to do the right thing, they just can’t agree on what that is!  Facilitation of kinship conversations helps families work together to reach consensus. 

Call or email to discuss your concerns with a mediator who is trained to work specifically with complex and sensitive family matters.