Check out this interesting blog post from Dana Curtus, contributing author to Cathy Cress’s Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Third Edition.
Handbook of Geriatric Care Management, Third Edition now includes for the first time a chapter on mediation, titled Mediation and Geriatric Care Management. As the author who contributed this chapter, I am happy to post my first blog about mediation. It seems appropriate first to let you know a bit about myself. I am a full-time mediator and mediation trainer and happily have been for twenty years next month. In the past five or so years, I have increasingly devoted part of my practice to mediation of disputes involving elders and their families, or issues related to them. I am also a mother, a grandmother to four precious granddaughters (and another grandchild of unknown gender on the way). I have been a daughter and granddaughter, caring for and loving aging family members.
I have a warm place in my heart for Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) and have worked with many GCMs as a teacher of mediation and as a mediator collaborating on cases. These relationships have served as powerful alliances, with GCMs allowing me to serve my clients in mediation more effectively and, I believe, assisting GCMs to be more effective in theirs.
In launching this blog, it seems fitting to recognize the ways our roles as GCM’s and mediators overlap and also how they are different.
Conflict is inevitable and equally ubiquitous are the everyday opportunities life presents to help others find their way through, if not out of, it – to be accidental mediators. Parents help their children, teachers help their students, managers help employees, friends help friends and GCMs help families.
Many of us are inherently good in this role, perhaps because we were cast as our families’ mediators growing up – and maybe still are. In other words, we are “naturals.” I put many of my GCM friends and colleagues in this category.
And when GCMs help family members work together to resolve their differences or solve problems the family has been unable to address satisfactorily on their own, GCMs are, in a sense, mediating – accidentally.
In contrast to accidental mediators – who help parties because the situation requires it and not because they have been asked to do so or hired as a mediator – intentional, or professional, mediators are impartial third parties who have acquired the knowledge, skills, personal qualities and experience necessary to develop expertise in mediation. Mediation is their focus, their work and, in many cases, their “calling.” They are, for the most part, full-time, paid professionals who devote their careers to mediation.
My blog posts will explore how mediators’ tools and understandings can help GCMs be more effective as accidental mediators and how GCMs can assist mediators and parties in mediation. In addition, regardless of whether a mediation career is in your future, my blog posts will explore how you can learn to become an intentional mediator.
The world is struggling to learn to communicate effectively in the midst of conflict, and GCMs see these struggles first hand in families they serve.
I look forward to exploring mediation with you."
Read about the Third Edition of Handbook of Geriatric Care Management and more on author Cathy Cress’s website and blog.