Linda Fieldstone, M.Ed., Co-Chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution and Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Elder Justice Initiatives on Eldercaring Coordination, is former President of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC); was President of its Florida Chapter (FLAFCC); Secretary of the AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination 2005 and recorder for the 2019 Task Force to update standards; and presently on the Florida Supreme Court Rules and Policies Committee. She is a Florida Qualified Parenting Coordinator and Neutral Facilitator in Collaborative Family Law Practice. Ms. Fieldstone is involved in research, training, and consultation in the U.S and internationally and written numerous articles on high conflict families, family court services, empirically based parenting plans and parenting coordination and eldercaring coordination, and a chapter in More Justice More Peace: When Peace Makers are Advocates (March 2020). In 2018, Ms. Fieldstone was honored with the Florida Supreme Court Sharon Press Excellence in ADR Award in recognition of her visionary leadership, professional integrity and unwavering devotion to the field of alternative dispute resolution, given the Community Service Award by the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and she presented to the United Nations on eldercaring coordination in honor of World Abuse Awareness Day. Ms. Fieldstone was Supervisor of Family Court Services, serving the 11th Judicial Circuit, Florida, Miami-Dade County, Florida, for 26 years and is currently servicing the community through Family Resolutions, LLC, providing conflict resolution opportunities to families of all ages before, during or after court actions.
Eldercaring coordination: Stopping the legacy of elder abuse
Sue Bronson, M.S., LCSW, Co-Chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination. Ms. Bronson is a mediator, trainer, and retired psychotherapist in Milwaukee, WI since 1983 mediating family, elder, and workplace disputes. Sue has over thirty-five years mediation experience helping people engage in quality conversations. She is the lead trainer for eldercaring coordination developing and delivering experiential trainings across the nation. Ms. Bronson teaches mediation at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee School of Continuing Education and has been a regular guest instructor for mediation classes taught at regional law schools. The Ohio Supreme Court requested Ms. Bronson for the development of their e-learning course for family mediation. Recent publications include National Association of Elder Law Attorney’s journal article (Spring 2018) and a chapter in More Justice More Peace: When Peace Makers are Advocates (March 2020). Sue is the lead author of Self-Assessment Tool for Mediators translated into three languages. Sue was a charter member of the Wisconsin Association of Mediators, served on the Academy of Family Mediators board, is a past Chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) Family Section and past Co-Chair of the ACR Elder Section. Currently, Sue is a committee chair on the American Bar Association Task Force on Elder Abuse Screening Guidelines for Mediators. For relaxation, Sue enjoys gardening and working/playing with her dog in obedience and agility.
Linda Fieldstone, Association for Conflict Resolution; Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, United States
Sue Bronson, Association for Conflict Resolution, United States
Conflict over the care and safety of ageing loved ones can have devastating intergenerational effects. Amidst battles between family members lay risks to older adults, elder abuse, exploitation and neglect. Lack of productive communication and inability to share decision-making, when necessary, can jeopardize the care and safety of the elder they say they want to protect. Eldercaring coordination was specifically created to protect older adults caught in the middle of high conflict family dynamics while providing a better model for conflict resolution for younger generations.
This workshop will provide the opportunity for delegates to experience how even the youngest generations are affected by family conflict. Delegates will easily relate to descriptions of social determinants affecting older adults when personal agendas of family members become the focal point instead of the ageing loved one, splitting families apart, resulting in termination of significant relationships, disrupting care for young and old alike. As alliances form, families in conflict use the legal system to address non-legal issues, compelling judges to micromanage ageing persons’ care, often increasing conflict rather than reducing it.
High conflict family dynamics are a health issue for ageing persons, intensifying their physical, psychological and cognitive challenges. The transitions of ageing are made more difficult, exhausting the ageing person’s coping mechanisms and increasing symptomatology as family conflict increases. To respond to this critical situation, the Elder Justice Initiative on Eldercaring Coordination developed an innovative dispute resolution process for families when conflict impacts the autonomy, care and safety of ageing persons. In these families, conflict is driving their relationships and interpersonal interactions, including cross-allegations, inconsistencies, entrenchment, abuse and exploitation. Eldercaring coordination reduces conflict by addressing the personal agendas of family members, refocusing them on the voice of their ageing loved one.
Family conflict not only leads to, but often hides, the abuses beneath the surface of the discord. What happens when children become privy to mistreatment of an older family member perhaps beloved grandparent or great grandparent? Scenarios will depict the transmission of abuses passed down to generations, jeopardizing the care and safety of older adults for years to come. Delegates will better understand how small choices may have big effects and explore disconnection between intention and consequences, including the possible motivations of family members from their own limited perspectives. The Eldercaring Coordinator’s court ordered role helps families transform intractable conflict and create cognitive shifts that promote better outcomes for both ageing persons and their families. Underlying concepts of this unique conflict resolution process are trauma-informed care and person-centered, strength-based interventions.
This workshop is of particular interest to researchers, family practitioners of any kind, conflict resolution providers, attorneys, guardians and legal decision-makers, direct caregivers, administrators of organization, agency and court programs. Eldercaring coordination was recognized by the United Nations in 2018 as an Action Model for the Welfare of Older Adults. When we work together to elevate the ageing person’s dignity, we can pass on a legacy of peace to enhance the family’s story for future generations.