Programs that help families resolve conflicts and reach consensus about care options for older family members. The mediator meets with family members (generally adult children) and their parents to sort out contentious or unresolved issues relating to the care plans for their parents. Other relatives and close friends may also be involved in the process. The mediator's objective is to defuse the situation and keep the group focused on finding the best possible outcome for the parent. Topics may include money issues, health care and end-of-life choices, possessions, independence, living arrangements, safety, caregiving responsibilities, economic and geographic disparities among siblings, differing expectations, complicated role reversals, ingrained ways of behaving, old "baggage" and personal commitments. The service is generally provided by a trained, neutral conflict-resolution professional who may be an attorney or therapist with support, when helpful, from an elder law attorney, financial planner, caregiver or geriatric care manager.
Programs that offer a review of options and assistance to people who want to provide for the administration and/or protection of their assets during their lifetime, develop a plan for managing their finances in the event of a disabling illness, prepare binding instructions for the health care they wish to receive or avoid should they become terminally ill, make arrangements for the disposition of their assets with a minimum amount of taxation upon their death and provide for the administration of their estate should their spouse or other beneficiaries be incapable of managing their affairs. Estate planning provides an opportunity for individuals to make their wishes known and to name the person(s) who will be responsible for carrying out those directives. Tools available during the estate planning process include a Last Will and Testament, durable power of attorney for health care, durable financial power of attorney and a directive to physicians such as a living will, natural death directive or other document recognized by the province. A revocable living trust may also be appropriate in some circumstances.
Programs that provide assistance for people who are involved in proceedings that deal with the establishment of decedents' wills, the settlement of decedents' estates or the appointment of a guardian or conservator for adults or children who are unable to manage their own affairs.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.