Spotlight on elder relationships

28 Jul, 2017

Relationships Australia WA is now providing a service catering to the concerns of older clients.

The Elder Support and Relationship Service is a new counselling and mediation support service to assist older people and their families, carers and advocates to:

  • prevent or resolve family conflict
  • have difficult conversations
  • plan for the future (including medical, financial or living arrangements)
  • resolve differences in ways that improve their relationships and
  • make decisions that protect the interests, rights and safety of families.

The service will be held for a 12 month trial period from September 1 and will be offered in Albany, Bunbury, Fremantle, Gosnells, Joondalup, Kwinana, Mandurah, Midland and West Leederville.

Executive Director Kylie Dunjey said 22 staff across the organisation have been trained by Associate Professor Dr Dale Bagshaw from the University of South Australia, whose main expertise is in elder-related matters. 

“This service differs from other sorts of counselling and mediation in that it also focuses on specific elder-related issues such as Guardianship, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Advanced Health Directives,” she added.

“So an example of an elder-related issue could be that a parent in his or her 70s could have three children, two of whom advocate the parent’s move to a retirement village. The third is concerned that this would necessitate sale of the family home, which would affect the overall inheritance.

“In such a case the service could involve facilitating discussions including all parties. At the end of the facilitated conversation a formal or informal agreement could be reached.

“We are flexible and committed to resolution on a case-by-case basis. There is no age limit. Elder issues could arise when the person in question is aged 60 or 83."

You can attend the service on your own, with your partner, a carer or advocate, as a family, or your children or parent(s) can come by themselves.

Attending the Elder Support and Relationship Service is voluntary and confidential. The decisions you make are not legally binding. If you would like to put your arrangements in writing, your practitioner can assist you.

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