Women to provide information on elder mediation at the WLACC Oct. 5. They will viusit the center monthly to share their expertise with families.

SUBMITTED PHOTOS  - Diane Barnes brings elder mediation services to the WLACC.

The WLACC welcomes the volunteer services of Kat Kirkpatrick.

Women provide mediation service for seniors and families

Everybody deserves to be respected and heard, regardless of age. This is the guiding principle behind Diane Barnes and Kat Kirkpatrick's work.

The two women specialize in elder mediation, and the West Linn Adult Community Center is thrilled to announce that they will be volunteering their services there the last Thursday of the month, starting Oct. 26. Barnes defines elder mediation as "a professionally mediated conversation where impartial mediators help elders and their families create plans for workable solutions."

Situations that can benefit from elder mediation could be anything from a personal dispute, change of living environment, loss of driving, medical decisions, to legacy planning. A family may need to create an action plan with or without the elder present. Tension, stress and feelings may be strong. Elder mediation can help everyone involved navigate their way toward a common objective.

All those involved agree in advance to adhere to a process and abide by a set of rules. The goal is that everyone can be heard and understood. Everyone has a voice. A resolution is designed around addressing practical concerns, tasks to be done, and who will do them. The family or concerned parties decide together what will be done. The mediator's role is to ensure the process is followed and that every opinion is expressed and received respectfully.

"We are all born deserving respect," Barnes says. "This right doesn't diminish as we age. Workable solutions are out there, and mediation is the process to achieve those goals respectfully."

Those interested in elder mediation and communication can attend a free seminar on Oct. 5 at the WLACC. Call or sign up at the front desk to reserve your place. This will be a great seminar to attend if you want more information, plan to utilize mediation services, or would like to gain a little insight into how your two way or multiple party communication can be most effective. To connect with Diane Barnes and Kat Kirkpatrick directly, please visit

Diane Barnes is a long-time resident of West Linn. She and her husband proudly raised two sons in the community and are avid baseball fans, especially of the Oregon State Beavers. She loves her sweet dog, family, music, gardening and traveling.

Kat Kirkpatrick lives with her husband and their two cats in Portland. She loves music and is involved on the county level as a grievance administrator. She loves family, healthy cooking, people and outdoor activities.

Contact the WLACC at 503-557-4704, or stop by at 1180 Rosemont Road, West Linn.

The lunch menu this week features shepherd's pie, cauliflower gratin, peas and chocolate cookies on Friday, Sept. 8; teriyaki chicken with jasmine rice, sugar snap peas and coconut rice pudding on Monday, Sept. 11; and chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches with brownies on Wednesday, Sept. 13. Cost is $5 per person.

Keli Stevens is a volunteer at the West Linn Adult Community Center.

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