Angry Mom, Angry Daughter: Is There a Solution?

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Mom has dementia and her daughter, Jennie, is worried. Mom clearly should not be driving anymore.
Jennie finally just took the keys away. Have they talked about it? No. Argued some, maybe. But talk starts out with anger and ends up worse than ever.

Jennie saw the dents in Mom’s car and asked about what happened. Mom refused to discuss it. First of all, she doesn’t exactly remember. But she’s embarrassed. She had a perfect driving record. Not even a parking ticket. Now, this. Something is happening to her memory and keeping track of things. She doesn’t want anyone to find out. It feels horrible to Mom. What if they put her away?

Jennie threatens to stop Mom from doing something stupid. Mom wants Jennie to butt out. How dare she tell her own Mother what to do? Can this be solved?

This scenario is real. It’s also not uncommon. The problem of how to approach a person who may have a vague idea of something wrong with their memory but won’t admit it is affecting thousands of families every day. Driving is one area where memory problems can affect lives and can put the public, as well as an aging parent in danger.

Consider the concept of mediation of a family dispute about an aging parent’s driving.

Mediation is a way of resolving disputes of all kinds. We’re quick to say “use mediation” for a labor dispute, or between warring countries to bring about peace. But, we usually don’t think of it for situations like Jennie and her Mom. However, it can bring hope when conversations and arguing end up in a standoff and anger is destroying family relationships. There is a way to resolve even the stickiest family issues.

Think of mediation as a way to get an outside, skilled person trained in resolving conflicts to come to your aid. Think of it as a way to end the fighting, and to work out solutions with help and guidance. Sometimes a few simple suggestions you’ve never thought about can turn the tide of a family conflict. People who do this are called “elder mediators” or even “family mediators”. The process is elder mediation. People come to their own resolution with the help of a mediator.

Read more: Dad and His Two Sons: Where Did the Money Go?

You can find one by doing a search in your area for mediators who work with elders and their families. There is normally a fee, though some community mediation services provide mediation at low cost or free. If your family is suffering over a driving issue, or any other elder-related issue, think of mediation. It may be the way out you’re looking for.

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