05 December, 2023

Have you found yourself in a family conflict with no idea what to do?

This conflict might be with anyone in your family, including your adult children or grandchildren. You may feel your wishes aren’t being heard or respected by your family.  

There’s no shame in seeking professional help. In fact, a mediator can help explore options for you and your family to safely move forward.

The Senior Relationship Mediation Service (SRMS) provides family mediation for older adults and their families. The SRMS advocates for the rights and wellbeing of older people, supporting respectful communication and fair outcomes.


What is mediation?

Mediation is a meeting (or series of meetings) guided by a professional mediator who helps the family resolve conflict and reach a mutually agreed solution.

The mediator acts as a neutral third party to support you to safely discuss difficult issues while building healthy, respectful relationships moving forward.


How can mediation help?

Mediation can help families to:

  • Resolve conflict
  • Agree on a way forward
  • Share their hopes and concerns
  • Understand each other’s perspectives
  • Learn healthy ways to manage conflict.


What happens in mediation?

Mediation involves a meeting with family members and a mediator in a safe, supportive environment. It’s voluntary and requires the consent of all participants.

The mediator guides the process with an agreed-upon agenda. A mediation meeting can take up to three hours, with the opportunity for additional sessions if needed. You may take breaks in between as needed.

Participants can also meet individually with mediators to privately share their concerns. This can be especially helpful if you don’t feel comfortable or safe raising certain issues with your family members present.


Senior Relationship Mediation Service

The SRMS is a free service for seniors and their families.

This service always acknowledges the wellbeing and best interest of the older person.

Additional safe, confidential support is available if you’re experiencing elder abuse. Whether it’s emotional, financial, physical, or another form of abuse, we can help.

“Older persons should be able to live in dignity and security and be free of exploitation and abuse.”
-The United Nations Principles on Human Rights of the Older Person


Marianne’s story

85-year-old Marianne* was being cared for by her live-in grandson Mitch.

Mitch was experiencing some personal troubles, and his behaviour was becoming aggressive, especially towards Marianne. Marianne asked Mitch to move out, which he did.

Marianne’s other grandchild was worried about her grandmother, so she contacted the SRMS.

Marianne, her children, and both of her grandchildren (including Mitch) agreed to attend mediation together. Marianne brought along a friend as a support person.

During mediation, Marianne shared that her strongest wish was to remain in her own home for as long as possible.

The mediation lasted for three hours. The family acknowledged Mitch’s mistreatment of Marianne. Mitch apologised to Marianne and showed evidence of changing his behaviours, so Marianne decided to allow Mitch to live with her as her carer again. The family decided together on Mitch’s caretaking tasks and agreed to review the arrangement in six months.

Marianne felt her wishes were heard and honoured by her family, and there was a greater level of family support and supervision for both Marianne and Mitch.


If you or an older person you know need help to resolve a conflict, our experienced counsellors are here to help. We can help you explore your concerns and possible solutions in a safe and supportive environment.

You can learn more about our Senior Relationship Mediation Service here, or call 1300 063 232.


*Please note that names and details in this blog post have been altered to protect our client’s privacy.


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