The Center for Social
2307 Shelby Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 tel: 734 665-1126 fax: 734 665-2071
The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. (TCSG), since its inception in 1972, has been a non-profit research,training and social policy organization dedicated to promoting the individual autonomy of older persons and advancing their well-being in society.
TCSG in the early 1990s pioneered in utilizing mediation in situations in which family members or friends had already petitioned for guardianship of an for older person. TCSG's goal was to determine if mediation might provide an alternative means of addressing the issues which were prompting the guardianship petition, particularly whether an alternative might be available which would address the issues without taking away the rights of the older person to make all or most of their own decisions about their life. TCSG pilot tested the use of mediation in guardianship cases in Ann Arbor, Michigan and then expanded this approach to a number of other sites. The result was the development of TCSG's adult guardianship mediation program which has now been used to train hundreds of mediators across the country.
In the mid 1990s, TCSG expanded its guardianship mediation initiatives to also include pre-petition cases, and, early in this decade, further expanded to include elder/family caregiver cases involving difficult and stressful decisions, discussions and disputes. Now, in the middle of this decade, TCSG is also examining other uses of mediation, facilitation and related elder services in cases uniquely affecting older persons.
This web site on Mediation & Aging was created to provide information and materials on the uses of mediation with older persons, particularly in situations in which guardianship or caregiver assistance is involved. Among the materials are TCSG's highly praised Adult Guardianship Mediation Manual, as well as training videos.SAVE THE DATE: TCSG's 2009 Adult Guardianship / Family Caregiver Mediation Training October 1-3, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Please mark your calendars. The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) will present its Adult Guardianship/ Family Caregiver Mediation Training from Thursday, October 1 - Saturday, October 3, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
This three-day advanced training is designed for trained, experienced mediators who wish to expand their practice to include mediation of issues or disputes that arise when guardianship over an adult is being considered, and/or when elders and their families are confronted with extremely difficult decisions regarding the care of a vulnerable family member which can easily lead to family conflict.Trainers will be Penelope A. Hommel, Co-Director of The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc.; Robert J. Rhudy, Consulting Attorney for The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. and President & Executive Director of Senior Mediation and Decision-Making, Inc.; and Carolyn J. Rodis, Mediator, Trainer, and Director of Training of Senior Mediation and Decision-Making, Inc.
For more detailed information please click here. Information last updated April 20, 2009.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Elder Mediation Annotated Resource Library Released
The Center for Social Gerontology is pleased to announce the release of the annotated bibliography on elder mediation. The purpose of the bibliography is to provide a comprehensive listing and brief description of the universe of existing materials,
--books/manuals/reports, articles, and video/online information
--on the development, provision, and evaluation of elder mediation
The bibliography includes all items (see caveat) we have been able to identify as being directly related and that hit the conjuncture of mediation and aging/disability/health care. It does not include items not directly related to elder mediation, e.g. items on guardianship, capacity, long-term care, or the field of mediation generally.
For more information and to download the latest copy of the Elder Mediation Annotated Resource Library, please click here.
National Elder Mediation Network Formed at Mini-Summit
At the conclusion of a 2-day meeting on February 9-10, 2006 in Georgia titled Assessing Elder Mediation Today and Developing Guidelines for Future Directions: A Mini-Summit, participants formed a new National Elder Mediation Network. Penny Hommel, convener of the Mini-Summit and Co-Director of The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) said "The purpose of the National Elder Mediation Network is to bring together an experienced, concerned, multi-disciplinary group to collaborate in defining, developing and supporting high-quality facilitation, mediation and related elder services. The Network's mission is to provide national leadership -- through policies, ethical standards and best-practice guidelines -- for a continuum of decision-making, planning and conflict resolution services that enhance communication, give voice to older persons, and strengthen relationships among elders, their families and the elder care community, while also promoting autonomy, independence and quality of life for the nation's elders."
After years of work on guardianship law reform, TCSG determined that new means were needed to help older persons and families address disputes and difficult decisions surrounding guardianship, which deprives older persons of fundamental rights to make decisions about their person and/or property. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, TCSG pioneered the use of mediation as a new means of addressing underlying issues and problems and exploring less restrictive alternatives to guardianship. In the mid 1990s, TCSG expanded its guardianship mediation initiatives to also include pre-petition cases, and early in this decade, further expanded to include elder/family caregiver cases involving difficult and stressful decisions, discussions and disputes. Hommel continued. "While we at TCSG believe that mediation can be extremely helpful, we have been increasingly confronted with several challenges, and the more we work with others across the country, we learn they are facing similar challenges. One is the challenge of under-utilization of mediation which raises myriad questions about outreach, building referral sources, and even if mediation by itself is the right service or if there is a need for a continuum of related services. The other is the challenge of quality assurance as guardianship/caregiver/elder mediation expands into the main-stream of mediation practice; what type of guidance/leadership is needed to ensure that mediators are adequately prepared to safeguard elders' autonomy and rights, and that mediation does not unintentionally lead to limiting the rights and voices of older persons?" The Mini-Summit was convened in response to these concerns and questions. Bringing together a multi-disciplinary group of about 20 professionals in aging, law, and mediation, the Mini-Summit provided an opportunity for brainstorming these and related issues.
At the conclusion of the 2-day Mini-Summit, the 20+ participants agreed to continue their work together through the formation of the new National Elder Mediation Network. TCSG will serve as coordinator of the Network, which will add other members in coming months. The Network members agreed to begin work immediately on four key areas: 1) the essential elements of quality elder facilitation, mediation and related programs/services; 2) ethics and standards for elder mediation services; 3) training and education; and 4) market research and needs assessment related to elder mediation and related services. Working committees were created on each of these topics. Network members will confer regularly through conference calls, meetings, a list serve and web sites. To access the full press release describing this new initiative, in pdf format, click here.TCSG's Adult Guardianship/Caregiver Mediation Training October 15-17, 2006 in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Please Mark Your Calendars. The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) will present its Tenth Annual Adult Guardianship/ Family Caregiver Mediation Training on October 15-17, 2006 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
This two and one-half day training on Sunday afternoon, Monday, and Tuesday -- is designed for trained, experienced mediators who wish to expand their practice to include mediation of issues or disputes that arise when guardianship over an adult is being considered, and/or when elders and their families are being confronted with difficult decisions regarding the care of a vulnerable family member. Given the growing importance of family caregivers and the need to support them as they confront extremely difficult decisions that can easily lead to family conflict, we added the focus on caregiver mediation several years ago.
The training is also available to a limited number of persons who are interested in establishing guardianship/caregiver mediation services, and we are again including a half-day devoted specifically to program development. This will include: developing case referral sources; developing policies essential to operating a quality program; and the "how to's" of setting up and operating guardianship/caregiver mediation services so that they are effective and well-coordinated with the courts, the bar and the aging and disability networks.
In planning your schedule while at the training, please plan to join us Sunday evening for an informal reception at the home of TCSG Co-Directors, Penny Hommel & Jim Bergman.
For more detailed information on logistics, registration, and the curriculum, please click here. Questions? Contact TCSG Penny Hommel, TCSG Co-Director. Phone: (734) 665-1126 or email email@example.com
The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) has for over a decade been pioneering the use of mediation in cases in which guardianship is being considered for older persons. In the past few years, TCSG has broadened the use of mediation to include cases in which caregivers for older persons are encountering difficulties in making decisions with and for older persons, particularly when a number of family members are involved. During the past two years, TCSG has worked with colleagues in Michigan, Georgia and Vermont on pilot projects using mediation in caregiver situations, under a grant from the federal Administration on Aging. As a part of the latter project, TCSG has prepared two brochures for use in these projects to assist families and professionals in understanding when and how mediation might be used in these situations. The brochures also provide useful information for persons interested in considering establishing similar programs in other locations. The two brochures are now available for viewing online, each in pdf format.
To access the brochure titled Considering Guardianship for Someone You Care About? Consider Mediation click here To access the brochure titled Caring for an Older Person and Facing Difficult Decisions? Consider Mediation click here These brochures provide information to address the following: why try mediation; examples of the use of mediation; what is mediation and how does it work in these types of situations; what kinds of issues can be mediated; frequently asked questions; what are mediators and what are their roles; examples of the use of mediation versus court proceedings such as guardianship; as well as additional information.
We encourage you to view the brochures and/or download them for your use as examples for materials you wish to develop on this issue. Caveats: Because TCSG bought the one-time-use rights to the photos used in the brochures, you may not use these photos in your own brochures or materials. Also, if you wish to use the text of these brochures for your own brochures/materials, you may contact TCSG for permission and to obtain copies of the text, etc.; simply contact TCSG Co-Director Penny Hommel at at firstname.lastname@example.orgTCSG Publishes Major Report: "Evaluation of Mediation as a Means of Resolving Adult Guardianship Cases"
On November 19, 2001, The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) published a major report which describes the use of mediation in cases in which guardianship over older persons was being pursued. TCSG, in the early 1990s, pioneered the use of mediation as a non-adversarial means of addressing the complex personal, financial and related issues which often precipitate the filing of petitions for guardianship of older persons by family members, friends or private guardianship organizations. The new TCSG study found that mediation appeared to be effective in helping disputing parties reach agreements in three-quarters of the cases in which it was used. Further, older persons, family members, program administrators and mediators were found to believe that mediation in these adult guardianship cases was effective in finding better or more satisfactory resolutions such as fewer guardianships, limited rather than full guardianships, or less restrictive alternatives to guardianship. The approximately 140 page report presents the conclusions reached in a study by TCSG of adult guardianship mediation in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. The report, funded by a grant from the State Justice Institute (SJI), presents a detailed description of adult guardianship mediation programs in these four states, followed by a summary of the results of a participant survey performed at two of the sites, and ends with a discussion of the conclusions and recommendations reached as a result of the study. Printed copies of the full study are available for a fee by contacting TCSG at 734 665-1126 or at email@example.com. A copy of the press release describing the study may be downloaded by clicking here. A copy of the full report, in pdf format, may be downloaded by clicking here.TCSG Releases Video: Adult Guardianship Mediation - An Introduction
TCSG has released Adult Guardianship Mediation: An Introduction. This 30-minute video presents a demonstration of a guardianship mediation, using actors to portray family members. Narrated by Academy of Family Mediators Past President Zena Zumeta, the video introduces viewers to mediation and its application in guardianship disputes.
This state-of-the-art and highly acclaimed manual is unique in this newly developing field, which The Center for Social Gerontology pioneered in the early 1990's. This comprehensive, four-module manual provides complete and detailed information for starting and operating an adult guardianship mediation project, as well as for training mediators. Judith Filner, of the National Institute for Dispute Resolution stated "these are high class and high quality materials for conflict resolution trainers, community dispute resolution centers, courts, lawyers, and advocates for the elderly." Click here for more information and the table of contents.
This 20 minute video features Washtenaw County, Michigan, Probate Judge John Kirkendall, who discusses the value of adult guardianship mediation to courts and judges. Judge Kirkendall, with The Center for Social Gerontology, implemented the first adult guardianship mediation program in the nation, and, as a result has a "hands-on" feel for how mediation can assist the courts in best meeting the needs of persons who are under consideration for guardianship. A perfect video for judges, lawyers, mediators and elderly programs who are considering developing adult guardianship mediation programs. To order, go to TCSG's publications page.
This article, published in TCSG's Best Practice Notes in 1996 provides an overview of the use of mediation in the handling of some cases in which guardianship is being proposed. It describes TCSG's experience in conducting pilot guardianship mediation projects since 1991. BPN article September 1996
Last updated January, 2009.