Elder Mediation: What's in a Name?

Barry, L. (2015), Elder Mediation: What's in a Name?. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 32: 435–442. doi: 10.1002/crq.21118

Posted: 19 Jul 2015

See all articles by Lise Barry

Lise Barry

Macquarie University Law School

Date Written: April 30, 2015


As an emerging discipline, specialist elder mediation has been characterized by diversity, with developments in the field often driven by the needs of family members, caregivers, health professionals, and the legal fraternity rather than the consumer demands of the elderly themselves. In this environment, there is a danger that the voice of elders will be forgotten or marginalized. At its best, elder mediation can play an important role in giving voice to older participants and ensuring that their will and preferences take center stage. At worst, elder mediation could play a role in increasing the vulnerability of older people by providing a forum that gives only lip-service to their rights. The author urges the elder mediation movement to ask, “What's in a name?” and suggests that the term elder mediation is most properly considered an umbrella term referring to the specialist knowledge of the mediators and the obligation to accommodate the participation of older people in decisions that affect them. The author argues that mediators should be specific about the process they are providing under that banner and that one way this can be achieved is through careful naming of the practice and procedures.

Keywords: elders, mediation, family, health, elder mediation, movement, procedures

Suggested Citation

Barry, Lise, Elder Mediation: What's in a Name? (April 30, 2015). Barry, L. (2015), Elder Mediation: What's in a Name?. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 32: 435–442. doi: 10.1002/crq.21118, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2632667

Lise Barry (Contact Author)

Macquarie University Law School ( email )

North Ryde
Sydney, New South Wales 2109
9850 4237 (Phone)

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