Spotlight on elder relationships

28 Jul, 2017

We will soon begin trialling a service catering to the concerns of older clients. A similiar trial was held at several Eastern States locations of Relationships Australia at the beginning of last year.

The Elder Support and Relationship Service will help 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.

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. The trial is expected to start in early September.

“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. The Eastern States branches in the trial dealt with a total of 140 cases. They reported 140 different sets of circumstances. We are capping our trial at 60 cases.”

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