Transforming a Negotiation Framework to Resolve Conflicts among Older Adults and Family Caregivers

Alaine Murawski, Vanessa Ramirez-Zohfeld, Allison Schierer, Charles Olvera, Johnathan Mell, Jonathan Gratch, Jeanne Brett, Lee A. Lindquist*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Family caregivers of older people with Alzheimer’s dementia (PWD) often need to advocate and resolve health-related conflicts (e.g., determining treatment necessity, billing errors, and home health extensions). As they deal with these health system conflicts, family caregivers experience unnecessary frustration, anxiety, and stress. The goal of this research was to apply a negotiation framework to resolve real-world family caregiver–older adult conflicts. Methods: We convened an interdisciplinary team of national community-based family caregivers, social workers, geriatricians, and negotiation experts (n = 9; Illinois, Florida, New York, and California) to examine the applicability of negotiation and conflict management frameworks to three older adult–caregiver conflicts (i.e., caregiver–older adult, caregiver–provider, and caregiver–caregiver). The panel of caregivers provided scenarios and dialogue describing conflicts they experienced in these three settings. A qualitative analysis was then performed grouping the responses into a framework matrix. Results: Upon presenting the three conflicts to the caregivers, 96 responses (caregiver–senior), 75 responses (caregiver–caregiver), and 80 responses (caregiver–provider) were generated. A thematic analysis showed that the statements and responses fit the interest–rights–power (IRP) negotiation framework. Discussion: The interests–rights–power (IRP) framework, used in business negotiations, provided insight into how caregivers experienced conflict with older adults, providers, and other caregivers. Future research is needed to examine applying the IRP framework in the training of caregivers of older people with Alzheimer’s dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number36
JournalGeriatrics (Switzerland)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Alzheimer’s dementia
  • conflict resolution
  • family caregivers
  • negotiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Aging


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