Eldercaring coordination helps address conflicts

Jan 28, 2015

By Paul R. Pace, News staff

The number of people age 65 and older is growing. And that growth adds the potential for increased cases of family conflicts in addressing an older person’s care and well-being.


A newly developed practice modality, eldercaring coordination, can help families and older adults address those conflicts.

The Association for Conflict Resolution Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination developed the process, during which a coordinator assists elders, legally authorized decision-makers and others who participate by court order or invitation to resolve disputes with high conflict levels that impact the elder’s autonomy and safety.

“Eldercaring  coordination is really for the high conflict families where the conflict is no longer about substance — it’s about the conflict itself,” said Sue Bronson, co-chairwoman of the ACR Task Force.

The task force has outlined the eldercaring coordination process and foundational ethical principles in its recently released “Guidelines for Eldercaring Coordination.”

They include qualifications of and training protocols for eldercaring coordinators, as well as standardized forms and assessment tools that courts may use to pilot eldercaring coordination projects.

With the release of the guidelines, pilot sites are being sought to test and refine the proposed practice. Because courts will likely generate most eldercaring coordination referrals, at least one judge will be required to participate in each pilot site.


Social workers can take the lead in encouraging pilot testing in their locale and work with interested stakeholders to secure foundation or other funding to make local testing a reality, said NASW member Georgia Anetzberger, former president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, who served on the Task Force on Eldercaring Coordination.

Practitioners of various professional backgrounds, including social work, may serve as eldercaring coordinators. Completion of training in both elder mediation and family mediation is a prerequisite for participation in the training.

From the January 2015 NASW News. NASW members can read the full story after logging in.

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