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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Difficult Conversations: Effective, Respectful Family Conversations about Issues Affecting Older Adults

Co-Sponsored by Minnesota State University, Mankato and South Central College


When disputes arise involving issues related to elders such as living situation, medical care, assistance with daily activities, finances, guardianships, or end-of-life decision-making, it is often in everyone’s interest to resolve issues without the need for court intervention.  Families don't always agree on what is best for Mom or Dad as they face difficult decisions and life transitions.  Following the death of a parent, adult siblings may disagree about wills or inheritance followed by a break down in relationship at a time when they need most support. Learn respectful and effective ways to have conversations about issues that affect elders and their family members.

Elder law mediation provides an alternative to seniors, family members, and caregivers struggling with these issues.  This session will discuss the growing need for elder mediation, the training and expertise necessary to effectively mediate disputes, and a framework for the mediation process which will assist parties to respectfully reach a satisfactory resolution while protecting the rights of elders.

If you are a social worker, care manager, or other professional who provides services to elders and their families, this session will help you work with clients and their families when there is disagreement in the ranks.





Date: November 2, 2012

Time: 9:00 A.M.-3:45 P.M. (check in begins at 8:30 A.M.)

Location: South Central College-North Mankato - Conference Center B

Cost: $99, includes morning beverages, lunch and all materials



9:00    Welcome Introductions
            Managing Difficult Conversations
            Participant Exercise: Naming our Experience
            What happened?
            Perspective and Assumptions
            How Our Words Affect Identity

10:15  Break

10:30  Feelings - Moving From Blame to Contribution
            Taking the "And" Stance

11:00  Participant Exercise

12:00  Lunch

1:00    Managing Conversations about Issues Affecting Aging Parents
            A Family Discussions Model
            Intake and At the Table
            Moving Discussions Forward
            Bringing Peace to the Table
            Forgiveness and the Role of Apology

2:15    Break

2:30    Participant Role Play

3:30    Debrief/Questions/Evaluations

4:00    Wrap Up


  • You will acquire skills and techniques to:

    • Run more effective family meetings
    • Work with parties with strong emotions
    • Facilitate consensus-building

Continuing Education:

  • RN’s and LPN’s: 6 Contact Hours
  • Nursing Home Administration: 5.5 clock hours
  • Social Workers: 5.4 Continuing Education Hours (CEH’s) 
  • Certificates of attendance available for all other professionals.

This program is designed for nurses, direct care staff, medical assistants, certified nurse aides, social workers, long-term care providers, residential housing providers, and other health care providers may find this program helpful in their professional practice

Helen B. Preddy

Ms. Preddy is an attorney practicing in Minnesota.  She is the President and CEO of U.S. Arbitration and Mediation of Minnesota, Inc., where she is a mediator both in Minnesota and throughout the United States. She received her J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, MN.  She received her mediation training and advanced work from CDR in Boulder, Colorado and the Harvard Negotiation Project in Cambridge, MA. Since 1988, she has been mediating for federal and state courts, as well as private corporations and individuals.  In 2005 Ms. Preddy was appointed by the Bankruptcy Court in Portland, Oregon as one of four mediators to work on the Archdiocese of Portland sex abuse cases. Helen conducts Alternative Dispute Resolution seminars both in Minnesota and throughout the country, facilitating workshops for institutions of higher learning, government employees, corporate professionals and members of the legal and health care professions. Ms. Preddy enjoys working with complex issues, assisting parties in understanding the implications of their decisions as they work toward resolution. 

Janeen L. Massaros

Ms. Massaros brings her experience and insights as a mediator, facilitator, parenting time expeditor, custody evaluator, and professional trainer to her work in the field of alternative dispute resolution. As sole proprietor of Southern Metropolitan Mediation Services since 1996, she assists individuals to resolve issues related to dissolution, co-parenting, post-divorce shared parenting concerns and property distribution. She also provides mediation and training services to businesses, supervisors, human resource professionals and employee assistance programs to resolve workplace disputes regarding job performance and expectations, co-worker relationships, multi-party organizational conflict and communication.

Registration information: Registration taken on a first come first serve basis.
No refunds 48 hours prior to workshop date. 
You will receive a confirmation e-mail following your registration

Contact Extended Learning at 507-389-2572 or 800-311-3142
View other Healthcare Continuing Education Courses.

For MSU events: individuals with a disability, who need reasonable accommodation to participate in this event, are asked to contact the Office of Accessibility Resources at 507-389-2825 (V/TTD), 800-627-3529 or 711 (MRS/TTD) at least five days prior to the event.

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