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The Resolution of Conflicts Involving the Elderly

While some sectors of conflict resolution practice are quite specific, the work of community mediation is as broad and diverse as the community itself. In this installment of the Community Section, we’d like to focus on an emergent area of community mediation service: the resolution of conflicts involving the elderly.


The American Bar Association’s Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly has recently published Building Coalitions in Aging, Disability and Dispute Resolution , detailing four innovative pilot programs to serve the conflict resolution needs of the elderly and disability communities. Three of the four programs are based at community mediation programs, including those in Bozeman, MT, Norristown, PA, and Louisville, KY.


Through the support of the Hewlett Foundation, the ABA Commission funded four local or regional coalitions to serve as models for replication in other areas. The objectives of the coalitions were to:

  • Increase communication and collaboration among the aging, disability and dispute resolution networks,
  • Educate each network about the needs and resources of the others,
  • Develop a state/regional dispute resolution agenda by and on behalf of the elderly and persons with disabilities, and
  • Explore the use of collaborative approaches to formulate state policy on critical issues for the aging and disability communities.


In cooperation with the ABA Commission, we have provided the body of the report here for your review. The ABA Commission has developed a listserve to encourage communication among the pilot programs and other interested in the project: for information about the listserve, email [email protected].


The coalition-building steps outlined in the report are instructive to community mediation centers not only for their work with the elderly, but in any number of service areas. Community mediation can play an integral role in the social service network of every community.


The MIRC Community Section welcomes your contributions and feedback. If you know of materials relevant to elder conflict (in specific) or community mediation (in general), please drop us a line at [email protected] or [email protected].

                        author

Tim Hedeen

Timothy Hedeen Timothy Hedeen is a researcher, trainer, and professor of dispute resolution at Kennesaw State University, Georgia. He serves on the editorial board of Conflict Resolution Quarterly, as chair of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution’s Community-based and Peer Mediation Committee, and was past chair of the… MORE >

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