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A Handbook for Assessing and Maximizing Capacity in Elder Mediations
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A Handbook for Assessing and Maximizing Capacity in Elder Mediations: Autonomy and Self-Determination Expressed Through Capacity


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In 2017, NAFCM partnered with the JAMS Foundation to provide mini-grants to community mediation centers across the country to work on issues related to mediation in aging and elder care. The centers involved in these programs formed a learning community that met regularly to work together and learn from each other. As the two-year funding cycle for these projects reached its end, the centers developed a guidebook to provide resources to centers and practitioners as they developed their own initiatives. The members of this learning community were:

  • Roni Coleman - mediator, Home Share Now, Barre, Vermont, USA;
  • John R. Selser - mediator, Community Mediation Center, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA;
  • Julie Friesen - Director of Programs, Community Justice Initiatives, Ontario, Canada;
  • Nicolina Galante - Programs Manager, Creative Mediation, San Luis Obispo, California, USA;
  • Jo-Ann Lauderdale - trainer and mediator, Southeastern Dispute Resolution Services Center, Jackson, Michigan, USA;
  • Ona Lawrence - Program Director, The Conflict Resolution Center, St. Cloud, Minnesota, USA;
  • D.G. Mawn - President, National Association for Community Mediation, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

The guidebook released by this learning community is called A Handbook for Assessing and Maximizing Capacity in Elder Mediations: Autonomy and Self-Determination Expressed Through Capacity.


 This handbook specifically focuses on concepts within the context of Elder Mediation, but can be applied more broadly to other types of mediation. The tools provided will assist mediators and community mediation centers to navigate the constantly shifting landscape of assessing and determining capacity in the Older Adult, including addressing the need for adaptations and guarding against ageism. This handbook will help mediators assess the Older Adult’s ability to participate and make any adaptations necessary. This handbook is best used as a menu of options and as a starting place to create a process that works for each mediator, each community mediation center and each Older Adult.


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