Caregiving is an act of love. Balancing the needs and safety of a kūpuna with his or her desire to be as independent as possible requires a sensitive conversation with the senior and the entire family. When talking is avoided or discussions break down, conflicts may erupt and the role of the caregiver can become overwhelmingly painful.
To help families engage in difficult exchanges regarding the needs, desires, care and support of an elderly family member, the Mediation Center of the Pacific created the Kūpuna Pono Program (KPP). Through KPP, mediation and conferencing help families talk through issues to reach an agreement that supports the elder family member.
Family conferences are facilitated discussions that bring together the kūpuna and the entire family in order to talk about his or her needs and develop a plan to meet them. The conference begins with an assessment of the family’s strengths, and the desires and values of the kūpuna. Then, the current and future needs of the elder person are discussed, including what resources are available to support his or her needs and who will assist in their coordination.
With two impartial facilitators guiding the discussion, family members talk about medication management, safety, living arrangements, meal preparation, personal assistance, finances, end-of-life plans and more. Then, the action steps and plans that are agreed upon during the conference are incorporated into a plan that is provided to every family member. The plan serves as a guide to help the family support their elder member and share in caregiving responsibilities.
If conflicts have already erupted between family members, the mediation process helps them talk about the specific issues at the heart of the dispute. Working in private and joint sessions with the family members who are in conflict, two impartial mediators help them understand each other’s perspectives and negotiate solutions.
Caregiving can be stressful, leading to conflicts that may tear a family apart at a time when their unification is most needed. The Kūpuna Pono Program helps restore harmony among them. Visit the mediation center online for more information.
THE MEDIATION CENTER OF THE PACIFIC, Inc.
245 N. Kukui Street, Suite 206, Honolulu, HI 96817
Monday – Friday, 8:30 – 4pm | 808-521-6767 | Fax: 808-538-1454 | www.mediatehawaii.org