The Center for Social Gerontology
2307 Shelby Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 tel: 734 665-1126 fax: 734 665-2071



The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. (TCSG), since its inception in 1972, has been a non-profit research training and social policy organization dedicated to promoting the individual autonomy of older persons and advancing their well-being in society.

TCSG in the early 1990s pioneered in utilizing mediation in situations in which family members or friends had already petitioned for guardianship of an for older person. TCSG's goal was to determine if mediation might provide an alternative means of addressing the issues which were prompting the guardianship petition, particularly whether an alternative might be available which would address the issues without taking away the rights of the older person to make all or most of their own decisions about their life. TCSG pilot tested the use of mediation in guardianship cases in Ann Arbor, Michigan and then expanded this approach to a number of other sites. The result was the development of TCSG's adult guardianship mediation program which has now been used to train hundreds of mediators across the country.

In the mid 1990s, TCSG expanded its guardianship mediation initiatives to also include pre-petition cases, and, early in this decade, further expanded to include elder/family caregiver cases involving difficult and stressful decisions, discussions and disputes. Now, in the middle of this decade, TCSG is also examining other uses of mediation, facilitation and related elder services in cases uniquely affecting older persons.

This web site on Mediation & Aging was created to provide information and materials on the uses of mediation with older persons, particularly in situations in which guardianship or caregiver assistance is involved. Among the materials are TCSG's highly praised Adult Guardianship Mediation Manual, as well as training videos.


Alaska’s Adult Guardianship Mediation Project Evaluation - March 2009

This evaluation assessed the effectiveness of the Adult Guardianship Mediation Project in Alaska, which the court began operating in 1985. The report found that if cases were mediated, parties reached agreements about some or all of the issues in 87% of the cases. The report concluded that the program appeared to be successful at averting contested hearings or trials, and that participants in the mediations were satisfied with the outcomes. The Council suggested changes to the survey forms to help with future evaluations.

To download a pdf copy of this March 2009 report, please click here. Posted with permission from the Alaska Judicial Council.


Information Regarding TCSG's Adult Guardianship / Family Caregiver Mediation Training

The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) last held its Adult Guardianship / Family Caregiver Mediation Training in 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The three-day advanced training is designed for trained, experienced mediators who wish to expand their practice to include mediation of issues or disputes that arise when guardianship over an adult is being considered, and/or when elders and their families are confronted with extremely difficult decisions regarding the care of a vulnerable family member which can easily lead to family conflict. The training is also of value to judges, court administrators, and others considering or involved in establishing adult guardianship / Conservatorship mediation programs in their states or local jurisdictions, and a limited number of spots are reserved for these professionals. Penelope A. Hommel, Co-Director of The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc. is the lead trainer for this course.

TCSG does not currently have an up-coming training scheduled, but does anticipate holding the course again. If you would like to be added to the mediation training mailing list in order to receive a notice when the next training is scheduled, please send an email with your contact information including snail mail address to TCSG’s Brooke Fajardo at her email address or TCSG’s fax number (734-665-2071). For more detailed information on the training itself and to download the 2009 Registration Form for informational purposes, please click here.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Elder Mediation Annotated Resource Library Released

The Center for Social Gerontology is pleased to announce the release of the annotated bibliography on elder mediation. The purpose of the bibliography is to provide a comprehensive listing and brief description of the universe of existing materials,
--books/manuals/reports, articles, and video/online information
--on the development, provision, and evaluation of elder mediation
The bibliography includes all items (see caveat) we have been able to identify as being directly related and that hit the conjuncture of mediation and aging/disability/health care. It does not include items not directly related to elder mediation, e.g. items on guardianship, capacity, long-term care, or the field of mediation generally.
For more information and to download the latest copy of the Elder Mediation Annotated Resource Library, please click here.


Brochures online for "Considering Mediation" in Situations in Which Guardianship is Being Considered for Older Persons OR Caregivers for Older Persons are Facing Difficult Decisions

The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) has for over a decade been pioneering the use of mediation in cases in which guardianship is being considered for older persons. In the past few years, TCSG has broadened the use of mediation to include cases in which caregivers for older persons are encountering difficulties in making decisions with and for older persons, particularly when a number of family members are involved. During the past two years, TCSG has worked with colleagues in Michigan, Georgia and Vermont on pilot projects using mediation in caregiver situations, under a grant from the federal Administration on Aging. As a part of the latter project, TCSG has prepared two brochures for use in these projects to assist families and professionals in understanding when and how mediation might be used in these situations. The brochures also provide useful information for persons interested in considering establishing similar programs in other locations. The two brochures are now available for viewing online, each in pdf format.

To access the brochure titled Considering Guardianship for Someone You Care About? Consider Mediation click here To access the brochure titled Caring for an Older Person and Facing Difficult Decisions? Consider Mediation click here These brochures provide information to address the following: why try mediation; examples of the use of mediation; what is mediation and how does it work in these types of situations; what kinds of issues can be mediated; frequently asked questions; what are mediators and what are their roles; examples of the use of mediation versus court proceedings such as guardianship; as well as additional information.

We encourage you to view the brochures and/or download them for your use as examples for materials you wish to develop on this issue. Caveats: Because TCSG bought the one-time-use rights to the photos used in the brochures, you may not use these photos in your own brochures or materials. Also, if you wish to use the text of these brochures for your own brochures/materials, you may contact TCSG for permission and to obtain copies of the text, etc.; simply contact TCSG Co-Director Penny Hommel at at


TCSG Publishes Major Report: "Evaluation of Mediation as a Means of Resolving Adult Guardianship Cases"

On November 19, 2001, The Center for Social Gerontology (TCSG) published a major report which describes the use of mediation in cases in which guardianship over older persons was being pursued. TCSG, in the early 1990s, pioneered the use of mediation as a non-adversarial means of addressing the complex personal, financial and related issues which often precipitate the filing of petitions for guardianship of older persons by family members, friends or private guardianship organizations. The new TCSG study found that mediation appeared to be effective in helping disputing parties reach agreements in three-quarters of the cases in which it was used. Further, older persons, family members, program administrators and mediators were found to believe that mediation in these adult guardianship cases was effective in finding better or more satisfactory resolutions such as fewer guardianships, limited rather than full guardianships, or less restrictive alternatives to guardianship. The approximately 140 page report presents the conclusions reached in a study by TCSG of adult guardianship mediation in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. The report, funded by a grant from the State Justice Institute (SJI), presents a detailed description of adult guardianship mediation programs in these four states, followed by a summary of the results of a participant survey performed at two of the sites, and ends with a discussion of the conclusions and recommendations reached as a result of the study. Printed copies of the full study are available for a fee by contacting TCSG at 734 665-1126 or at A copy of the press release describing the study may be downloaded by clicking here. A copy of the full report, in pdf format, may be downloaded by clicking here.


TCSG Releases Video: Adult Guardianship Mediation - An Introduction

TCSG has released Adult Guardianship Mediation: An Introduction. This 30-minute video presents a demonstration of a guardianship mediation, using actors to portray family members. Narrated by Academy of Family Mediators Past President Zena Zumeta, the video introduces viewers to mediation and its application in guardianship disputes.

Adult Guardianship Mediation Manual

This state-of-the-art and highly acclaimed manual is unique in this newly developing field, which The Center for Social Gerontology pioneered in the early 1990's. This comprehensive, four-module manual provides complete and detailed information for starting and operating an adult guardianship mediation project, as well as for training mediators. Judith Filner, of the National Institute for Dispute Resolution stated "these are high class and high quality materials for conflict resolution trainers, community dispute resolution centers, courts, lawyers, and advocates for the elderly." Click here for more information and the table of contents.

TCSG Video: Adult Guardianship Mediation - A Judge's Perspective

This 20 minute video features Washtenaw County, Michigan, Probate Judge John Kirkendall, who discusses the value of adult guardianship mediation to courts and judges. Judge Kirkendall, with The Center for Social Gerontology, implemented the first adult guardianship mediation program in the nation, and, as a result has a "hands-on" feel for how mediation can assist the courts in best meeting the needs of persons who are under consideration for guardianship. A perfect video for judges, lawyers, mediators and elderly programs who are considering developing adult guardianship mediation programs. To order, go to TCSG's publications page.

Adult Guardianship Mediation

This article, published in TCSG's Best Practice Notes in 1996 provides an overview of the use of mediation in the handling of some cases in which guardianship is being proposed. It describes TCSG's experience in conducting pilot guardianship mediation projects since 1991. BPN article September 1996.


The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc.
2307 Shelby Avenue  Ann Arbor, MI  48103
Tel: (734) 665-1126  Fax: (734) 665-2071

Last updated June 2011