Difficult Conversations – Getting The Death You Want
May 26th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

Mediation and having difficult conversations about death are probably not things that you think belong together, but they do.

Have you told your loved ones what your end of life decisions are? As a society it’s something that we don’t like to talk about.

I don’t know if it’s because I am completing my certification in Elder Mediation or because aging is a popular topic right now but it seems that there are very good attempts at creating awareness and starting conversations about this in the media. Not the negative stories that everyone hears about but some positive and honest discussions about the issues.

The Toronto Star is running a week long series aimed at doing just that. Today’s article is about Getting The Death You Want. Sounds ominous doesn’t it? They quote the following statistic “only 45 per cent of Canadians have talked about their end-of-life wishes.” Why aren’t all families having this conversation? It is 100% going to happen to each of us.

Yes it’s true as the article points out that the 3 main reasons people don’t talk about their wishes for their death are 1) Fear of death 2) Not wanting to upset family and 3) it’s just plain uncomfortable. What the article doesn’t mention are solutions. It’s a great starting point but how does this article translate into action? People understand why they aren’t having these discussions, how can we help them to have them? Elder Mediation is how. Elder Mediators are trained to help ensure that the focus is on the person in need while allowing all family members/friends/caregivers(anyone that the person would like to participate) to have a voice, get informed and help make decisions.

The Elder Mediation process makes the discussion a little more neutral. We help facilitate the conversation and take some of the burden of having the conversation away from the family.

These conversations do need to happen, why not get a little help?

Julie Gill Q.Med, CDFA

Families First Mediation

Owner and Principal Mediator


By:  Health Reporter, Published on Mon May 26 2014

Toronto Star Read the full article here



The Cost Of Care – Canada Sees An Increase In Senior Caregivers
May 20th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

Author: Rubab Abid,
Published Sunday, May 11, 2014 10:15PM EDT

Elder Mediation and Caregiver Support

Elder Mediation and Caregiver Support

With an aging Canadian population and the increasing cost of nursing homes, the number of Canadian seniors providing at-home care to elderly patients has increased in recent years.

In the last decade, the number of senior caregivers across the country has grown from eight per cent to 12 per cent – a looming issue among an increasingly aging Canadian society.

For Roy Warren, taking care of his 92-year-old wife Tamara is a labour of love.

Roy, who is 89, spends his days feeding, bathing and taking care of Tamara from their home in Kitchener, Ont.

“After her breakfast, I change her diaper and give her a sponge bath,” Roy said in an interview with CTV News.

Roy and Tamara met in 2002 and married late in life.

Tamara, who was University of Waterloo’s first vice-president and was named to the Order of Canada, fell ill soon after their wedding.

After suffering a fall, Tamara’s eye sight began to worsen and she began losing her memory.

She relies on Roy to help take care of her growing medical needs as she is now completely blind and bedridden.

Tamara says the idea of going to a nursing home and being away from Roy is too much to bear.

“I just couldn’t face going to a nursing home,” Tamara said.

Support workers from the local Community Care and Access Centre (CCAC) drop by the Warren’s home throughout the week to help Roy take care of his wife.

Christine Rupert, a CCAC occupational health worker who co-ordinates care for the couple, says Roy is determined to take care of Tamara in any way he can.

“It is such a big duty. Such a big task and he does it so well,” Rupert said.

“They are very much committed. They are very much in love. For some families it is very much an expectation. They know that is part of being a couple, of being a family,” she added.

While Roy is grateful for the extra help from CCAC, which totals about 90 hours per month, he is left to take care of Tamara on his own on evenings and weekends.

“I can do it for evenings, weekends, and at the end of the weekend…I am pretty well paved out…you get edgy and tolerances drop,” he said.

“And those four day weekends, when you have a holiday, it’s pretty hard deal for me,” he said.

Roy said he would love to get extra help on the weekend, but he has reached his limit for government-sponsored home care and can’t afford to hire help on his own.

Dr. Janice Keefe, a gerontology expert from Mount St. Vincent University, says Roy’s predicament is similar to many elderly Canadians who are struggling with at home care services.

“We have an aging population, it is not going away,” Keefe told CTV News. “We have to prepare for a future where people can live in their homes as long as possible.”

“We cannot afford individuals to all be in long term care facilities or hospital,” she said.

“In the future, there will be more spousal caregivers, they will live together longer in that spousal relationship and you may end up with two people both needing care, but not necessarily wanting to seek out because they tend to try and compensate for each other,” she said.

Ray says his health is good and that, aside from some arthritis and a hearing problem, he is able to take care of Tamara for the time being.

“It’s a relationship and a love story – how it should be,” he said.

See original content here: CTV News 

See how mediation can help with caregiver support and difficult family conversations.



DIVORCE – Having Your Day In Court.
May 8th, 2014 by Families First Mediation

I hear people say all the time that they don’t want to deal with their ex to sort through separation issues. Sure, I can relate to that. In some cases, specifically where there is domestic violence, power imbalances or an unwilling party, court is a necessary evil. But for the others that say “when a judge hears my side…”, “I will take you to court so that you never see your kids”, “I will convince a judge that I should get everything”, I just cringe. These are statements made by people that are hurt but not well informed.  Read the rest of this entry »

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