Where Can I Find Someone to Be a Mediator Between My Mom, Her Care Providers and Myself?

9 answers | Last updated: Nov 13, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Hello, I am new to this web site and I am extremely overwhelmed with the situation my mom is in. I’m in need of an advisor/mediator between my mom, the doctors, therapists and myself. My mom, 70, has recently fallen and has shut down emotionally. She is resentful towards me believing that if she were not staying with me, the accident wouldn’t have happened. It’s been a long, tough road to this point. She had breast cancer in 1996 and she did the chemo and radiation and took tamoxifin. She then got uterine cancer in 2007 and had a complete hysterectomy in Oct 07. They only did radiation. Then in Mar 08 the cancer was in her stomach and lungs. It was a very aggressive cancer and was told by her doctor that they couldn’t cure it, but only treat it with chemo. She was in a very fragile state and broke her (radial head) arm right in May 08 just before the chemo was to start. She could not get her arm fixed as she had cancer and they couldn’t do surgery due to the state she was in. I have been by her side through everything. I am her only advocate, as we have no other family willing (or able) to help out. She has been on aggressive rounds of chemo therapy from Apr 08 through Jan 09. The cat scans show no cancer. She has been living with me for the past 10 months and I have been her caregiver. I have been juggling a fulltime job, chemo appointments, doctor visits and such. She completed her last chemo treatment in Jan and she started to feel like there was a life after cancer. There was talk of her moving back home and I took a job that did not allow me to be as flexible but offered better opportunity for career advancement. On 3/4/2009 she fell and broke her femur. It was a very bad break as she has osteoporosis. The orthopedic surgeon said it was the worst thing he’d ever seen. It was in 30+ pieces. She is now in a rehab facility. It has been an extremely stressful time for me and I am at my wits’ end. She has Bravo insurance and it hasn’t been easy getting her the care she needs. Bravo was ready to send her home after only a week in rehab. My mom is very fragile and she is in no shape to be alone. What I am up against is that she doesn’t want to be in rehab and it doesn’t help that her insurance doesn’t want to pay for her to be there. However the options are few and right now, rehab is the best option for her. I just wish she could see it that way. She feels that I don’t want to take care of her, but the fact is if I had the money and the time I would gladly take her. I feel that her, moving back to my home before she is able to transfer from the bed to the commode, would be a risky idea. I have chronic back pain and I have financial obligations. I must keep my job. She shouldn’t be alone. I need someone to step in and be the mediator between me and my mom and the providers. I remember seeing an advertisement on this site for services where someone could provide what I’m looking for. I can’t seem to find the ad anywhere. Please point me in the right direction. Thanks.

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

You  will be able to find a mediator for your mom and the caregivers.  You have asked for help in such a clear and heartfelt way. 

You need a good professional Geriatric Care Manager. You can go to www.caremanager.org to find one where you live.  But just in case there is not someone in your area, you may need help in finding finding help.  Is there a specialist in elder law, a geriatric social worker, an Area Agency on Aging, a psychologist with experience in aging?  

You will need someone to support you.  Trust yourself.  It takes more than one person to care for someone as frail as your dear mother. You will have to come to terms with the knowledge that you are not abandoning your mother.  You need to expand her circle of care.  That circle includes the rehab center, the health professionals, yourself, other family and friends who visit.

Your mother has been frail for 13 years.  Your care of her is not yet over.  The task you face now is to let others help you.  She has reached a point where she cannot see your needs.  Her circle of care must both care for you and for your mother. Once you have this help, you will be able to think of ways to bring more comfort to her where she lives.  When she complains that you don't care, brush her hair or rub some nice lotion onto her hands. You don't have to answer back.   Just let her know that you love her and that you will be with her as much as you can.      

And make friends with the aides and other helpers at the rehab center. Help them to understand your mother. She sounds like a very strong person.  What was her life, what are her strengths? What are her preferences?  Are there ways to distract her from her suffering? Communication can help turn a rehab center into a healing environment of care.   

Community Answers

Elderesolutions answered...

Geriatric care managers can facilitate discussions among family members and care providers. Their role is typically to assess situations, develop care plans, find resources and monitor a situation.  They typically work with all parties, yet focus their advocay on the needs of the older adult.  Geriatric care managers are great at pulling various parties together to fully understand the issues and build bridges, as appropriate.

Elder mediators are impartial facilitators, trained to help people who may have different "positions" understand common issues. In mediation, the parties generally come up with their own solutions - agreed upon by all.  In this fashion, it is more likely that solutions are created that will work, in the long term. Elder mediators may also provide some resources for the group; they typically focus on overcoming communication issues between people.

There are lists of elder mediators on www.mediate.com or do an internet search on "elder mediation" and your town. If those don't work, ask professional advisors that you trust if they are familiar with any elder mediators. It is still a relatively new profession, but definitely growing!

Accordo answered...

Elder care mediators have a specialized process knowledge base and understanding of the life changing issues faced by elders and their families. They assist in navigating the uncertain path created by unplanned changes in the physical, emotional, and relational well being of parents.

Elder care mediator's are focused on serving the elders and the families through offering a process that creates a safe space for an often difficult dialogue.

Your elder care mediator should NOT be a caregiver or your care manager. Elder care mediators (and mediators in general) are always neutral parties.

Look on the local link on this site and search for mediators. Also conduct a county or city internet search under the keywords "elder care mediation in _____ county and (state)" This should lead you to local resources. Be certain you find a mediator with a specialization in elder care/gerontology! For example, Accordo Mediation Specialists, LLC has elder care specialists who are certified mediators through their elder care division.

I encourage you to educate yourself to make a wise decision. Best of everything to you.

Mariannew answered...

She may have a condition that would be appropriate for hospice care, and if she qualifies, she will have a hospice social worker. This would be provided at no cost and would be a place to begin. Meanwhile, attempt to locate a geriatric care manager or hire home health to come in. She may have some dementia/alzheimer's going on, thus she will only get worse and the stress on caregivers (primarily you) will escalate. Visit some long term nursing facilities to see what is available in your area and make an appointment with Medicaid specialist at that facility to discuss the best way to qualify your mother for Medicaid nursing home care. Also consult an attorney who deals with geriatric long term care planning because she may live long enough (five years) to shelter any assets to leave to you that otherwise would go to pay the facility.

Bknoll answered...

My question is: Why are you being her caregiver?
No one owns another person their life. What they do owe them is safe, correct care in where it can be done properly. Visit all you want. It is her life. She is a part of it. You are a part of hers. Medicaid will cover a nursing home. Lots of really nice ones out there with highly trained staff. I want to kiss the feet of the people who help my mom at the facility she is at. And I really mean it. I am so grateful for the wonderful care and kindness she receive. But most of all, because they tell me to go home, it is their job and they deal with all the things she need, does, says. It is all part of the process of where she is in life. You and I cannot change it. Be kind to yourself, get her in a situation that is much better for her. Then go to Meetup.com and find a group of something you are interested in and get out with other people!!! Believe me, I do know. Good luck. And listen to mariannew's answer above. Please -Do what she suggests.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Why are people advertising on this site. Totally inappropriate! We who are struggling as caregivers don't need this stuff when we have serious issues to deal with and are looking for help. Please stop the advertising. Thanks

Caringdenise answered...

Hello "anonymous,"

Thank you for your message. Caring.com does its best to keep spammers from disrupting our site, and apologize for the frustration that today's spam postings caused you. I've now removed the offending posts you mentioned. Please don't hesitate to get in touch with our community team if you have any additional questions or needs in using Caring.com: https://www.caring.com/about/contact.html Thanks!

Bknoll answered...

I hope things are better now. I am not sure if they were talking about my post being an advertisement. I really talk from the heart and loads of experience now only. If I was at a social meeting and someone needed help with answers on taking care of their parents, would I be wrong to write the message go to caring.com??? It is information. It is a suggestion for help in an area to start in, to make life better for yourself and your loved one. I only am suggestion what I know to be a very helpful place. I have been through so much taking care of my mom, it has consumed my life, but I have chosen now for it not to continue. I have to be with people, friends. To live, to communicate, to have joy and other thoughts beyond being a caretaker. I own no one my total life. I love my mother, I owe her protection and the best care that I can make sure she has. I research the diseases because I want to understand what she is going thru and what is best for me to do to help her. I have so much information in me it is bursting. But I have to have a life other than that also, so I join groups of activities with people and force myself to get out!! And found my the meetup groups to be so acessable that I recommond it over and over. You can also go join a church group , they have activities also. Would I then be advertising?

Caringdenise answered...

Hi bknoll,

My prior comment was regarding some posts made to this page that were advertising clothing and other merchandise, weren't related to caregiving or eldercare, violated our site Terms of Use, and were removed.

We appreciate your participation in the Caring.com community, and in spreading the word to more caregivers about the free information and resources we offer here. Thank you!