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Eldercaring Initiative Elders Newsletter

United Nations Presentation: ELDERCARING COORDINATION: AN INTERGENERATIONAL MODEL OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION

United Nations Presentation in Honor of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Focusing on Advancing Autonomy for Older Persons and Preventing Abuse and Neglect

?by Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed., Judge Michelle Morley, Sue Bronson, LCSW


It was an enormous honor to be at the United Nations for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to talk about eldercaring coordination, a conflict resolution process developed specifically to protect the autonomy and safety of ageing persons. Thank you to the International Federation on Ageing, and the reminder it gives us to raise our collective consciousness about the treatment of our ageing, and to all of you for your work in that direction.


Let your mind wander off for a minute, to the warm and aromatic kitchen of an ageing person who is surrounded by loving family members, all focused on the ageing person?s care, safety and well-being. It?s a Sunday afternoon, and the family has come for a visit. While growing older has its challenges, this parent or grandparent?s ageing process is an inspiration, a source of joy for the family, celebrating the life of their ageing loved one and the many happy occasions shared throughout the years together.


Now imagine, instead, if you were an ageing person losing independence, feeling scared, sad and alone, perhaps confused and isolated from loved ones. Instead of at your kitchen table, your grandchildren are home alone while family members are seated opposite one another in a courtroom to argue over your care. The tables between them have become battlegrounds for revenge, blame and ridicule. For some families, overseeing a loved one?s transitions through ageing can be a painful reminder of the past. They remember the tumultuous ways in which they have dealt with disagreement and become consumed by disappointment, anger and loss. Instead of being supportive during the ageing person?s transition, their personal positions over-ride their ageing loved one?s needs and safety. Now, the family members only see each other when they go to court, urging their lawyers to degrade and belittle one another. Strategic litigation tactics heighten the hostility between them as the ageing person fades dramatically into the background, whispering, ?I just want my family to get along!?


Eldercaring Coordination is a solution – for the ageing person?s anguish and the family?s aggressive actions. Eldercaring Coordination is a compassionate, court-alternative response to family conflict, one that engenders respect and protection for the ageing person. This court ordered dispute resolution option focuses on reducing family conflict and minimizing risks and abuse to respect and preserve the dignity and quality of life of ageing persons. To do that, the ageing person?s voice must be at the center of conversation, yet all the voices of concerned family members must be heard.


How can that happen? A high conflict family dispute resolution specialist called an Eldercaring Coordinator helps families refocus on the ageing person, set their disagreements aside peacefully, and elevate the ageing person?s needs and preferences. Families are referred to eldercaring coordination in a court proceeding, once family conflict is identified by the court, or upon the request of the ageing person, family, attorney or guardian. They can be recognized by their frequent motions to the court regarding non-legal issues, cross allegations and unsubstantiated claims, safety concerns, and withholding of information, money, time and affection of the ageing person. The court orders who participates in eldercaring coordination: the elder, legally authorized decision-makers, and others by invitation. Why does it take a court order when we want to enable the family to resolve disputes out of court? Because all too often family members in conflict refuse to meet together unless they are court ordered to do so.


The eldercaring coordinator enables family members to develop more effective communication and problem-solving skills, and to develop and implement a care plan that is flexible according to the transitions of the ageing person. As the needs of the ageing person change, the family returns to the eldercaring coordinator, rather than reverting to the gavel of a judge for decision-making on non-legal issues.


Family conflict regarding ageing persons is an issue without borders, a global issue, unattached to economic, racial, religious, ethnic or national boundaries. Worldwide, our ageing population is growing exponentially as people are living longer. Where ageism exists, the mistreatment of ageing persons perpetuates the potential for adverse effects on their families. Family conflict involving ageing persons is not just a social problem, it is a medical problem, with health implications. The effects of conflict on this vulnerable population is a societal issue, involving not only the quality of life, but the length of life of our oldest population. Research shows the many ways that an ageing person?s health is compromised when caregivers are overburdened, treatment is delayed, decisions are obstructed, and their safety is jeopardized by family conflict. And it doesn?t stop there? The cumulative effects of prior and current generational conflict are harmful, resulting in lack of social capitol and accrued interpersonal skill deficits. So, even the youngest generations benefit through eldercaring coordination, as it reduces the tension of their parents, heals ruptures in family relationships, and provides a dignified model of conflict resolution for them to integrate. Recognizing that high conflict in families is a health issue for ageing persons, United States StayWell Medicare/Medicaid health plan provider has contributed to provide scholarship funds for eldercaring coordination in Florida. ?Eldercaring coordination is based on the idea that with open communication and effective planning, family members can come to the best resolution to resolve disputes,? said Elizabeth Miller, president of Staywell Health Plan. ?Ongoing conflict can put undue stress on a family and delay needed medical treatment and therapies, adversely impacting the health of elders and their children.? When we help our ageing loved ones, we are helping our children as well.


Therefore, it is unconscionable that our attention to the abuse of ageing persons lags twenty years behind our focus on child abuse. The World Health Organization estimates that one of every six people 60 or older will suffer some form of abuse, with only 1 in 24 incidents reported, even though spouses and adult children are the most likely perpetrators. We all have family secrets and in older families the members have even more time to become experts at keeping them hidden. The root of some secrets can lie deep, sometimes covered protectively by fear, and sometimes covered by shame, intimidation and coercion. An accusation based on assumptions and conclusions from limited information can be difficult to discern from actual hidden abuse. Ongoing exploitation may not be admitted even when confronted. Uncovering the truth becomes even more complicated in high conflict situations as harsh feelings, misperceptions and baseless conclusions cloud and conceal the reality behind family secrets.


Eldercaring coordination becomes the key to unlocking these mysteries and safeguarding the elder from conflict, threats of harm and risky situations. Eldercaring Coordinators use a trauma- informed, person-centered approach so they are better able to guide families through a supported decision-making process that protects the health, safety and well-being of their ageing loved one. The eldercaring coordinator is trained extensively and experienced with how abuse may be minimized, rationalized, and kept a secret. Since Eldercaring Coordinators are court ordered to work with families for up to two years, it gives them time to develop relationship and hear the concerns of each person participating. They provide ongoing screening and are sensitive to hints of abuse, neglect and exploitation through unfolding conversations. When risks are present, Eldercaring Coordinators help families distinguish drama caused by vendettas from what is credible, so family members can provide the right response to protect their ageing loved one. Eldercaring Coordinator is there to complement, not replace, services and can help the family develop a support system, connect them with available resources as needed, and notify appropriate authorities when warranted.


How was eldercaring coordination developed? In 2013, the Association for Conflict Resolution convened twenty well respected United States and Canadian organizations, who worked with the twenty statewide organizations assembled by the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. The Association for Conflict Resolution Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination were unanimously approved the next year by those organizations, who recognized that it is time to protect our elders by engaging their families in the process of their care. There are currently six states in the United States with Pilot Sites for eldercaring coordination, and others interested in the United States as well as Canada and as far away as Australia. The eldercaring coordination process is being researched by Dr. Pamela Teaster, Director of the Center for Gerontology, and Dr. Megan Dolbin-MacNab, Director of the Doctoral Program of Marriage and Family Therapy, both at Virginia Tech University. Their studies are informing best practices in eldercaring coordination as it develops. The Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination provides the framework needed to foster the development of eldercaring coordination across the globe, with continuous support, including standardized procedures, forms and training. The Initiative is ready to include your communities to the growing number providing access to this unique conflict resolution process and help you bring eldercaring coordination to ageing persons and their families in in your communities.
The benefits for eldercaring coordination is a distinct contrast to the cost of ongoing litigation and court fees:

  • Time, money and health are saved as conflict is reduced within the privacy of the eldercaring coordination process, outside of court;
  • Instead of incurring court related fees individually, including each expert testifying for each party in the court case, the fee of one Eldercaring Coordinator is shared by those participating in the process or, in some areas, scholarships may be offered;
  • At times, the humiliation of an ageing person being legally labeled ?incapacitated? is completely avoided when family members are able to step in and work together;
  • The ageing person and family can respond to issues quickly, without having to wait for open court dockets to address emotional, non-legal issues in
  • Risks and safety issues are identified so the ageing person can be protected from harm and vulnerabilities
  • Best of all, families become better role models for their next generations when they are able to resolve disputes and engage in supported decision-making, respecting the need for safety and autonomy of their ageing loved

Even the youngest generations benefit through eldercaring coordination, as it reduces the tension of their parents, heals ruptures in family relationships, and provides a dignified model of conflict resolution for them to integrate.


Think of how you would want the story to unfold if it was your parent, grandparent OR YOU in the middle of family turmoil. Do you want to spend the last chapter amidst the downpour of flying accusations and heated arguments? A situation ripe for abuse and exploitation. Or would you prefer to have comforting time with family members collaborating to meet your needs and keep you safe? Remember what parents want most?. for the family to all get along! Eldercaring coordination honors that ageing person?s wish by giving their family the tools and support needed to create a legacy their ageing loved one can feel proud of continuing for generations ? a legacy of peace in the family.
For more information check out the?Eldercaring Initiative Page?or contact the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination Co-Chairs:


Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed. |?Tel.: 305-206-8445 |?LindaFieldstone@outlook.com


Sue Bronson, LCSW |?Tel.: 414-841-8889 |?SBronson@wi.rr.com


Judge Michelle Morley |?Tel.: 352-569-6960 |?MMorley@circuit5.org

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Eldercaring Initiative Elders Newsletter

Background of Eldercaring Coordination Initiative

By Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed. and Judge Michelle Morley

Dear FLAFCC,

Five and a half years ago I reached out to your President Judge (Ret.) Sandy Karlan with an idea, which she permitted me to pitch to the FLAFCC Board after the annual membership meeting. With her support, the Board approved the creation of a Task Force to explore the possibility of creating a conflict resolution process for families struggling regarding the care and safety of an aging parent. My years at Family Court Services of the 11th Judicial Circuit had surely taught me that families do not age out of conflict, and it was disheartening that options for families with minor age children were not available for families as they grew older to help with discordant situations regarding an aging loved one.


Judge Michelle Morley was designated as my Co-Chair of the FLAFCC Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination We convened twenty statewide entities plus a well-credentialed Advisory Committee.? Together we collaborated with the Association for Conflict Resolution Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination, comprised of twenty U.S. and Canadian organizations to develop Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination. Eldercaring Coordination was premised upon parenting coordination, a dispute resolution process for parents in high conflict regarding child-related issues.


In 2015, the Task Forces merged into the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination. Florida initiated eight Circuits as Pilot Sites, and they have been serving to pave the way for easily replicable pilot sites throughout the U.S., in Canada and abroad. Thanks to FLAFCC, Florida is serving as a model for a more compassionate and more effective resolution alternative for elders and their families in conflict, and even more important, we are helping to redefine the operational definition of ?family? to include the multi-generations that can better support and improve the lives of even the youngest members of the family. Imagine a world where all children were able to model respectful and collaborative problem-solving and approach others in their communities with respect and tolerance! FLAFCC is a leader toward that path.


In this issue of your FLAFCC Newsletter we hope you read:

We also hope that you check out the EldercaringCoordinationFL.org website. We look forward to your feedback.

The Eldercaring Coordination Initiative has been fortunate to have the support of Judge Sandy Karlan and all of your presidents since:? Jack Mooring, Robert Merlin, Rose Patterson, Jill Sanders and Debra Weaver, as well as your Board of Directors. We want to acknowledge you and FLAFCC membership for your confidence, your assistance and your ongoing encouragement. Together we can improve the lives of Florida families, young and old!

Sincerely,

FLAFCC Eldercaring Coordination Initiative Co-Chairs:


Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed., was President of FLAFCC in 2005 and AFCC in 2011-2015, and Co-Chair with Sue Bronson of the Association for Conflict Resolution Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination.

Linda Fieldstone -?LindaFieldstone@outlook.com? ??


?Judge Michelle Morley was an FLAFCC Board Member from 2008 through 2017 and in 2016 was appointed by Chief Justice Labarga to serve as both a Stakeholder and a Steering Committee Member of Florida?s W.I.N.G.S. Project as well as the Judicial Management Committee?s Guardianship Workgroup.

Judge Michelle Morley -??Mmorley@circuit5.org

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Eldercaring Initiative Elders Newsletter

OSCA FINAL FRIDAY FAMILY COURT COMMUNIQUE

(JUNE 2018 EDITION)


Eldercaring Coordination


by Judge Michelle Morley ? 5th Judicial Circuit


Less than three years after the eight Florida Eldercaring Coordination Pilot Project Sites first launched, eldercaring coordination has now been recognized by the United Nations. On June 14, 2018, Linda Fieldstone and I, the co-chairs of the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Eldercaring Coordination Initiative, presented on eldercaring coordination with Sue Bronson, co-chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution Elder Justice Initiative, at a program sponsored by the NGO Committee on Ageing and the International Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse. It was attended by representatives from the U. N. Missions who are members of the Group of Friends of Older Persons.? Eldercaring coordination was one of only two programs presented at the U. N. on behalf of North America.


There has been much discussion regarding eldercaring coordination and other guardianship issues becoming part of family divisions instead of probate divisions in order to avoid possible duplication of services, resources, and time from parties in the court. Eldercaring coordination is an alternative dispute resolution process that is intended to assist families driven by conflict over the care and future of an aging loved one. Modeled after parenting coordination, eldercaring coordination complements and works collaboratively with other professional services. Families are referred to eldercaring coordination by courts from guardianship, mental health, and adult protective services cases. Courts identify appropriate cases based on the following factors:

  • competing petitions to be appointed as guardian; or
  • inflammatory allegations demeaning other family members; or
  • failure to resolve issues in mediation, or
  • repeated and frequent motions raising ?emergency? matters; or
  • family members with a win/lose mentality; or
  • imbalances of power ? sometimes because of financial abilities, and sometimes because of the formation of alliances between family members; or
  • other similar indicators of high conflict within the family.

Eldercaring Coordinators (ECs) are trained and qualified to work with family members and help them to let go of their differences, build commonalities, and focus their energy on the needs and welfare of their elder. Eldercaring coordination manages family dynamics, provides a support system as the elder transitions to distinct levels of care, addresses risks, and promotes safety of the elder, including monitoring situations where caregivers may be over-extended. Eldercaring coordination fosters self-determination of the aging loved one for as long as possible. The EC is appointed for a period of time up to two years so that the family can return to eldercaring coordination instead of court if new issues arise.


Fees for eldercaring coordination vary.? The ECs set their own fees just like any other professionals. The Eldercaring Coordination Pilot Project Site Administrator works to best match a family to an EC who is the most accessible, affordable, culturally appropriate, and best-suited to the issues the family brings to the table. The judge referring the family to eldercaring coordination will allocate the EC?s fees among the parties. StayWell, the managing entity for Medicaid and Medicare in Florida and many other states, has bestowed a grant of $1,000 per pilot project site in recognition of family conflict being a healthcare issue for aging persons. StayWell hopes that its grant will enable more families to use the eldercaring coordination process to address family conflict. Beginning in 2019, StayWell members in Florida may also apply their coverage to the cost of eldercaring coordination when recommended by their care managers. This is a landmark.


The American Arbitration Association Foundation has provided a grant to supplement the cost for training ECs. At least one training for ECs is being planned for the fall as Maryland is piloting a new site, and Ohio and Idaho are expanding their pilot sites. Toronto, Ontario, and Orange County, California are also hoping to launch new Eldercaring Coordination Pilot Project Sites soon, too. The feedback that has been received on this groundbreaking approach to conflict in families caring for elders has all been positive.? In one case, the presiding judge remarked that it saved the life of an elder whose care was in abeyance until the EC helped the family develop a care plan. In another case, the elder remarked that this was the best Father?s Day he ever had because eldercaring coordination enabled family members, who had been blocked from visiting, to finally have access to him. The EC works with the family to develop better communication and negotiating skills so that the court does not have to micromanage the elder?s care. The judges who have referred cases to eldercaring coordination notice a marked reduction in the number if not a total elimination of contested hearings in those cases.
The following Florida jurisdictions are currently participating in the Eldercaring Coordination Pilot Project:

  • 5th Judicial Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion, and Sumter Counties)
  • 7th Judicial Circuit (Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, and Putnam Counties)
  • 9th Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola Counties)
  • 12th Judicial Circuit (Manatee and Sarasota Counties)
  • 13th Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County)
  • 15th Judicial Circuit (Palm Beach County)
  • 17th Judicial Circuit (Broward County)
  • 18th Judicial Circuit (Seminole and Brevard Counties).

If you are not in a pilot site circuit but are interested in bringing eldercaring coordination to your circuit, contact Linda Fieldstone (lindafieldstone@outlook.com) or Michelle Morley (mmorley@circuit5.org) for more information. The process is simple.? You will receive assistance in identifying people already in your Circuit who can be trained to become Eldercaring Coordinators.? All the forms you will need to refer cases have been drafted in a template and will be made available for your use. You will receive preliminary training in identifying and referring cases, and an invitation to monthly meetings as well as continuous support available whenever you need it.


Those at the U.N. presentation understood the urgency of responding to elders and their loved ones in the throes of conflict, and its influence on all of the family members when asked to: ?Think of how you would want the story to unfold if it was your parent OR YOU in the middle of family turmoil when you are old, losing capacity, and afraid. Do you want to spend the last chapter amidst the downpour of flying accusations and heated arguments? A situation ripe for abuse and exploitation. Or would you prefer to have comforting time with family members collaborating to meet your needs and keeping you safe?? Remember what parents want most?.for the family to all get along. Eldercaring coordination honors that aging person?s wish by giving their family the tools and support needed to create a legacy their aging loved one can feel proud of continuing for generations ? a legacy of peace in the family.?


Click here to view the U. N. presentation. For more information on eldercaring coordination, click here and here.
 

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Eldercaring Initiative Elders Newsletter

Who Needs Eldercaring Coordination, Anyway?

by Kim W. Torres and Cher Myers


Eldercaring Coordination is a dispute resolution option developed specifically for high-conflict families that turn to the courts for resolutions related to the care and needs of an elder.? The family dynamics can be disruptive, harmful or damaging to the elder and the elder?s ability to receive care and services, or threatening to the elder?s safety.? The Eldercaring Coordinator (?EC?) serves as a court-appointed intermediary to work with the family, care-givers, guardians, attorneys and other interested parties to facilitate the resolution of ongoing disputes.? Eldercaring Coordination is intended to complement and not substitute for services such as legal representation, financial advice, therapy, medical services or mediation.


A Real Family?s Dilemma:?The Simmons family was at an impasse.?? One group of siblings wanted Mom to live in Georgia, while another contingent wanted Mom to stay in Florida, where she had been for the last nine months.?? After Dad had passed, Mom had left her group-living home in Georgia, which she had shared with her husband for the past five years, and moved to Florida in with her daughter Angie for support and assistance.? The Georgia location was the most convenient for the four siblings outside of Florida, and Angie did not get along well with her brothers and sisters.?? The siblings had not seen Mom in six months at Angie?s house.?? Since her husband had died, Mom?s abilities had declined and she had established relationships with local physicians and care providers.


Angie and her sister, Beth, were now each seeking to be appointed the Guardian of Mom.? The appointment would determine where Mom was to live.?? Which locale and living arrangements were better for Mom??? Could Mom handle the transition??? Would the family members support Mom wherever she was living?


During the Hearing to determine Guardianship, the wise Judge made a difficult decision: allow Mom to return to the Georgia living facility for thirty days, and see how it goes.?? Because the parties were in the middle of a court proceeding, the Judge required that they be sequestered and not speak to each other, or anyone else, about the proceedings or circumstances.?? The Eldercaring Coordinator was appointed to communicate with all of the parties, coordinate visitation, consult with the physicians if necessary and monitor progress with the director of the living facility.? A couple of problems and disagreements arose which were addressed and resulted in better communication between the physicians, an adjustment of medication, and smoother visitation with all of the children of Mom.?? Each child was able to immediately express concerns when there was a problem with Mom?s care which was addressed and satisfied.


Interestingly, Mom made the transition back to Georgia fabulously.?? She remembered old friends and was active in the social community and events.? All of the children were able to visit with Mom regularly with pleasant interactions.?? The court decided that Mom should stay in Georgia and appointed the Guardian accordingly.
How was the E.C. Able to Make a Difference for this Family?

  • The EC served as a vessel for communication between the contentious family members, buffering the reactive comments, and modeling a calm and respective demeanor.
  • The EC was able to communicate with all of the interested parties, even those that were not part of the court proceeding, to gain knowledge of relevant information to assist in decision-making. Thus, the EC eliminated the need for each family member to be in contact with the care providers and facility staff.
  • The EC allowed each party to vent, and then provided the opportunity to redirect the party?s emotions in a more constructive manner.
  • By communicating with the EC, it was not necessary for the parties to file motions with the court to get a response, or to be heard.
  • The EC?s involvement was almost immediate, with much interaction within a very short period of time for a response. Problems that arose were timely addressed and resolved without the need for other family members to intervene.
  • The EC was able to objectively identify the problems and suggest alternate behaviors for the parties to follow. When appropriate, the EC could validate the concern being expressed.
  • The EC was able to provide the court with an objective report indicating that all parties had an opportunity to communicate, participate and that the objectives ordered by the court had been satisfied.
  • The court could make a decision that was in the best interest of the Elder, with confidence that all family members had an opportunity to be heard and their concerns addressed.
  • The EC was better able to explain the court process to the family, as well as the role of guardians and to address the expectations of the family when a parent is declining in his/her abilities. The EC could recommend outside services to assist the family in their support and understanding.
  • By intervening quickly and reasonably, as well as educating the family as to options and realities, the family members were able to decide, with some level of comfort, that court action was not needed. This saved the family, and the elder, much money in legal fees, both now and in the future.
  • The family members were able to focus their energy and resources on supporting the elder. It also reduced the escalating tension between family members to hopefully allow for better communication in the future, and reaffirm their common goal of doing what was best for the elder.

A Brief Look Inside Another Family?s Dilemma:
The elder has not been able to see two of her four children for over two years due to the conflicts between the siblings. She was close to the end of her life and wanted her children to be able to be present with one another and to get along. As a result of the intervention from the Eldercaring Coordinator, schedules were created which allowed for visitation with all the children together and the elder.?? This cohesive effort by the children allowed the elder to maintain dignity during the dying process and enjoy the company of her family without tension or animosity.

  • The Eldercaring Coordination process also helped the children to ?let go? of some past resentments and redirected their focus on their shared desire to do what was in the best interest of their Mother.
  • Communication and contact improved between two of the four siblings after the death of the elder. This, in turn, aided the two children in experiencing a more supportive and less painful grieving process after the loss of their Mother.

When Might Eldercaring be Effective?

  • When the problems arising among family members are based on emotion, not something that legal action can fix.
  • When parties seem to be receiving different information. ?Their opinions and decisions are not based on the same base of knowledge.
  • When the cost of addressing each family member?s concerns is draining the resources of the elder.
  • When the behavior and statements of the family members is disruptive to the elder.
  • When immediate intervention would likely make a difference.
  • When family members question and object to the decisions and actions of the Guardian.
  • When there is concern for the care and safety of the elder.
  • When there is an imbalance of power between the parties; some with legal representation or superior access than others.
  • When disputes are frequent and not subject to objective determination of the problem or result.
  • When some party/ies are exerting possessive or controlling behaviors toward the elder.

Obstacles to Utilizing Eldercaring Coordination:

  • Lack of Awareness of program by attorneys, Guardians, courts and care providers.

A:????? A coordinated effort to advise each Judicial Circuit and professionals within the Guardianship industry of the option of eldercaring coordination is taking place.

  • Reluctance by attorneys to engage another professional in the process.

A: ???? In our experience, the EC relieves the attorney from frequent and emotional communications with the family members, allowing the attorney to focus more easily on legal issues at hand.

  • Anticipated additional expense for the elder, or unaffordability for the participants.

A:????? When successful, the process can save thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars on unnecessary litigation.
Eldercaring Coordination enables families to resolve disputes in a manner that respects the safety and autonomy of their ageing loved ones.? The Eldercaring Coordination Initiative is committed to helping the court and community focus on reducing the level of conflict in families as concerns about care and safety for their ageing loved-ones arise.
 
Kim W. Torres is an Eldercaring Coordinator and Certified Mediator in the 18th Judicial Circuit of Florida and Chair-Elect of the ADR Section of the Florida Bar.?? For almost 20 years, her mediation practice at Torres Mediation has focused on disputes that relate to emotional concerns and involve individuals, including Guardianship, pre-suit Divorce, foreclosure and Homeowner Assoc. disputes.


Cher Myers, L.C.S.W. is an Eldercaring Coordinator in the 5th Judicial Circuit and Qualified Clinical Supervisor in the State of Florida, who owns her private practice in Lake County, also providing equine assisted psychotherapy, counseling, parenting coordination. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker she has worked with high conflict cases for over 25 years.


(Any excerpt from Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination material was approved.)
 
For more information check out the?Eldercaring Initiative Page?or contact the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination Co-Chairs:


Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed. |?Tel.: 305-206-8445 |?LindaFieldstone@outlook.com


Sue Bronson, LCSW |?Tel.: 414-841-8889 |?SBronson@wi.rr.com


Judge Michelle Morley |?Tel.: 352-569-6960 |?MMorley@circuit5.org

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Eldercaring Initiative Elders Newsletter

ELDER JUSTICE INITIATIVE ON ELDERCARING COORDINATION 2018 THREE YEAR PROGRESS REPORT

The ACR Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination (?Eldercaring Coordination Initiative?) wishes to commemorate the work of the Task Forces on Eldercaring Coordination with this three-year report of the progress made since the Eldercaring Coordination Guidelines were approved and adopted in 2015.? The purpose of this document is to remind the organizations who joined together to develop eldercaring coordination of their initial contribution and chart the substantive developments since the Eldercaring Coordination Initiative began.


The ACR Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination was initiated in 2013, composed of twenty US and Canadian organizations (Appendix A). Their groundbreaking effort resulted in Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination, unanimously approved by all twenty organizations in 2015. Working collaboratively and concurrently with the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination, comprised of 20 statewide entities, the ACR Task Force was able to monitor how its broad framework could be applied to the needs of elders and families in a specific state. The intention of the Task Forces was to develop the tools essential to initiate and sustain Eldercaring Coordination Pilot Sites, defined as: a judge, judges or magistrates that would commit to referring at least six cases to eldercaring coordination, or a group of attorneys that would refer at least six cases through Agreed Orders. The Guidelines on Eldercaring Coordination provide Eldercaring Coordinator qualifications, ethical guidelines, grievance procedure, training protocols and Pilot Site template.


In just two years from the very first Task Force meeting, two Inaugural Eldercaring Coordination Trainings took place, one hosted by the Ohio Supreme Court and the other by the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Thirty-six Eldercaring Coordinators (ECs) were trained, as well as several Pilot Site Administrators and Magistrates. ?Immediately thereafter, five Pilot Sites were launched: Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Ohio and Minnesota, and within Florida alone, eight pilot sites were launched.? By the end of the year, the Task Forces transitioned into the ACR Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination (?Eldercaring Coordination Initiative?).


The driving force of the Eldercaring Coordination Initiative has been the strength of conviction of the Pilot Site Judges, Magistrates, Pilot Site Administrators, Eldercaring Coordinators and many others who have continued the dedication of the Task Force organizations to forward eldercaring coordination as a viable conflict resolution process for high conflict families regarding the care and safety of ageing persons. Pamela Teaster, Ph.D., Director of the Center of Gerontology, and Megan Dolbin-MacNab, Director of the Doctoral Program of Marriage and Family Therapy, both of Virginia Tech University, have donated countless hours to this project.? Both have been studying eldercaring coordination since the Inaugural Trainings in order to inform its development and promising practices.

pilot sites

ELDERCARING COORDINATION INITIATIVE OUTCOMES

  • Significantly fewer motions to the court, and when motions were filed they were more focused on legal, rather than nonlegal, issues
  • Reduction of family conflict, minimizing risks and abuse, neglect and exploitation, to respect and preserve the dignity and quality of life for aging persons
  • Fewer cases to determine guardianship and in which capacity needed final determination through the court, maintaining the dignity of the elder
  • Aging person and family can respond to issues quickly and privately through supported decision-making without having to wait for open dockets to address emotional, non-legal issues in court
  • Awareness and appreciation of elder mediation and the general need for conflict resolution options for elders and families
  • Recognition that high conflict in families is a health issue for elders
  • Continuous support of Eldercaring Coordination Pilot Sites and Eldercaring Coordinators provided through Eldercaring Coordination Initiative
  • Education and trainings provided locally, nationally and in Canada to increase awareness of Eldercaring Coordination
  • Presentations taking place during conferences of organizations with expressed missions specific to ?children and families,? as well as those organizations regarding elders
  • Definition of ?family? extended to reflect ONE family representing multiple generations, where the youngest benefit from the modeling of collaboration, understanding, tolerance and support as ageing loved ones reach their last chapters, leaving a legacy of peace to all those that follow

ASSOCIATED GRANTS AND FUNDING

  • Federal Grant/Elder Justice Innovation Grant/Administration for Community Living Federal Grant. Innovations in Community Living awarded to Spark County Ohio Court,
  • American Arbitration Association International Center for Dispute Resolution Foundation for Eldercaring Coordination Training Grant
  • StayWell/Well Care Medicaid/Medicare Health Plan Provider Eldercaring Coordination Scholarship Program

INTERNATIONAL INTERESTS

  • Churchill Fellowship sought by Dominique Horne, Family Consultant, Mediation and Counseling, Project Co-Ordinator, Victoria,? Australia
  • Funding sought by Richard Dening, Manager Adult Restorative Justice Conferencing, Dispute Resolution Branch, Department of Justice and Attorney-General, Queensland, Australia
cases referred

RESEARCH

  • Virginia Tech University: experts Pamela Teaster, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Gerontology and Megan Dolbin-McNab, Ph.D., Director of the Marriage and Family Doctoral Program: ongoing study of eldercaring coordination to inform the development of best practices
  • University of Toronto initiating research: Michael Saini, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
  • Sarah Gross, J.D., Pepperdine School of Law, Strauss Institute LL.M. Candidate 2018

ELDERCARING COORDINATORS TRAINING

  • Hosted by Supreme Court of Ohio, Columbus, Ohio: 2015, 2016
  • Hosted by Florida Chapter of AFCC, Orlando, Florida: 2015
  • Next generation of training was improved through the integration of research and feedback of participants both at the training and after professional experience with the process
  • Eldercaring Coordination Initiative Hosted three Continuing Education for Eldercaring Coordinators WEBINARS between 2017 and 2018

ELDERCARING COORDINATION INITIATIVE OUTCOMES

  • Significantly fewer motions to the court, and when motions were filed they were more focused on legal, rather than nonlegal, issues
  • Reduction of risks and decrease in safety issues of elders
  • Fewer cases to determine guardianship and in which capacity needed final determination through the court
  • Awareness and appreciation of elder mediation and the general need for conflict resolution options for elders and families
  • Recognition that high conflict in families is a health issue for elders
  • Continuous support of Eldercaring Coordination Pilot Sites and Eldercaring Coordinators provided through Eldercaring Coordination Initiative
  • Education and trainings provided locally, nationally and in Canada to increase awareness of Eldercaring Coordination
  • Presentations taking place during conferences of organizations with expressed missions specific to ?children and families,? as well as those organizations regarding elders
  • Definition of ?family? extended to reflect ONE family representing multiple generations, where the youngest benefit from the modeling of collaboration, understanding, tolerance and support as ageing loved ones reach their last chapters, leaving a legacy of peace to all those that follow
LINK TO ELDERCARINGCOORDINATIONFL.ORG

Eldercaring Coordinator Maria Schlafke created and launched the Florida website hosting information about eldercaring coordination, included a login portion specifically for Eldercaring Coordinators and Pilot Site Administrators, Judge and Magistrates.

DEPARTMENT OF ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES

The Florida Department of Children and Families developed forms and protocols for the identification of families for eldercaring coordination and links to court orders.

COLLABORATIONS

  • American Arbitration Association Foundation
  • Dispute Resolution Center, Supreme Court of Ohio
  • Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers
  • Florida Department of Adult Protective Services
  • Florida Legal Aid
  • Florida Office of Public and Private Guardians, Department of Elder Affairs
  • Florida Office of the Attorney General
  • National Adult Protective Services Association
  • National Clearinghouse for Abuse in Later Life
  • Ontario Bar Association, Elder Section
  • Pepperdine School of Law, Strauss Institute
  • Shepard Broad College of Law, Nova University
  • StayWell/Well Care Health Plan Provider
  • Stetson University College of Law
  • Virginia Tech University, Center for Gerontology and Doctoral Program on Marriage and Family Therapy

CONFERENCES, PRESENTATIONS AND EVENTS

??? International Event:

  • United Nations: Presented Eldercaring Coordination at World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, New York, June 14, 2018

??? International Conferences:

  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Conferences, yearly from 2015-2018,
  • Association for Conflict Resolution 2014-15; 2017-18
  • Avant Touts, Les Enfant/Children Now 9th International Symposium. Montreal, Canada, Montreal, 2018
  • International Federation on Ageing Global Conference, Toronto, August 2018 (Symposium/Workshop)

??? United States Presentations and events:?

  • American Bar Association Elder Law and Aging Annual Conference, Plenary Session, 2018
  • National Association for Social Workers Southern District Conference 2018
  • American Society on Aging Annual Conference 2017
  • International Association of Collaborative Professionals 2017
  • National Adult Protective Services Association, 2017
  • National College of Probate Judges 2017
  • American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Section 2017
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys 2016
  • American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Section Miami 2016

Webinars:

  • American Society on Aging 2017
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts 2017

??? Statewide Conferences and Trainings:

  • Ohio Dispute Resolution Conference 2018
  • Ohio Judges Training 2018
  • Idaho Guardianship Court Coordinators Training 2018
  • Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, yearly from 2015-2018
  • Florida State Guardianship Conferences 2015, 2017, 2018
  • Florida Circuit Judges Conference 2014-15, 2017
  • Florida Dispute Resolution Conference 2014, 2016
  • Wisconsin Attorney General?s Task Force on Elder Abuse, 2018

Local Programs:
Presentations have occurred locally in Pilot Site states including judges and court staff trainings, local Bar Associations, Public and Professional Guardianship Organizations, government committees, nursing homes and independent living facilities, faith-based institutions.

SPREADING THE WORD!

Articles Appearing in National Publications:

Family Court Review, 2015

Conflict Resolution Quarterly 2015

BiFocal, Journal of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging 2015

Experience, American Bar Association, 2015, 2017

NASW News, National Association for Social Work, 2015

Aging Today, American Society on Aging, 2016

Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers 2016

National College of Probate Judges, 2017

National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, 2018

?Friendly Passages? News Letter for the Rupert J. Smith Law Library

Statewide News:

Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Task Force Newsletter 2017, 2018

Office of the State Court Administrator Final Friday Communique 2018

Florida Central Region Adult Protective Services Newsletter 2017

The Neutral, Florida Dispute Resolution Center 2016, 2017

CantonRep.com, Connecting Stark County 2016

Florida Bar News 2016

Florida Psychological Association 2016

Court News Ohio 2015

Florida Daily Business Review 2015

Herald Tribune Sarasota 2015

NOTEWORTHY LINKS

ELDERCARING COORDINATION INFRASTRUCTURE AND SUPPORT

  • Pilot Site and Eldercaring Coordinator meetings have each taken place monthly to provide support, consultation, improvements and meet the challenges intrinsic to initiating change to existing systems, even when needed
  • Trainings to increase awareness of eldercaring coordination
  • Webinars to provide ongoing training for eldercaring coordinators
  • Judges, Magistrates and Pilot Site Administrator trainings
  • Ongoing reassessment of forms and procedures to enhance the eldercaring coordination process and Pilot Site administration

For more information check out the?Eldercaring Initiative Page?or contact the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination Co-Chairs:


Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed. |?Tel.: 305-206-8445 |?LindaFieldstone@outlook.com


Sue Bronson, LCSW |?Tel.: 414-841-8889 |?SBronson@wi.rr.com


Judge Michelle Morley |?Tel.: 352-569-6960 |?MMorley@circuit5.org