The Elder Mediation Center of New Jersey (EMC-NJ), a collaborative alliance of elder law mediators / attorneys, Tony Serra, Nina Weiss and Donald D. Vanarelli, and geriatric care manager Marcie Cooper; recently held a training session in the specialized field of elder mediation. The training was held on November 10, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The EMC-NJ training satisfied the annual 4-hour continuing education requirement for mediators in mediation programs mandated by the court.

We believe that this was the first training in elder mediation ever offered in New Jersey, and we are proud of the results. There were 42 attendees at the mediation training. Most attendees were attorneys, although psychologists, social workers, C.P.A.s and hospital administrators were also in attendance. Most of the attendees were experienced mediators. Based upon workshop evaluations, a majority (62%) of the attendees felt that the presentation was helpful and clearly presented.  An overwhelming majority (92%) felt that the presenters’ knowledge of the subject was comprehensive.  Training topics included a review of the legal principles relevant to capacity, guardianship and probate law, clinical issues involving elders, an overview of the mediation process in elder, disability and guardianship cases, and the role of the elder mediator and the neutral expert.

The EMC-NJ is committed to providing an environment where all parties are heard, including the older adult who, though at the center of the conflict, often finds it difficult to participate fully in the mediation due to cognitive or other impairments.