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Matching Life Experience With New Careers

ELDER-CARE MEDIATOR As a professional court-appointed guardian in Orlando, Fla., Lennie Burke, often sees families battling over the care of an elderly loved one.

“A classic case is Mom has a stroke and can’t return to her condo. Where will she go? A nursing home?” said Mr. Burke, 62, a retired senior civilian executive for the Navy. “Old sibling rivalries break out, and pretty soon, the family is lawyering up.” Last fall, Mr. Burke opened Harmony Mediation to help families resolve elder-care issues before they escalate into litigation.

“I’m atypical for a scientist — I know how to listen and talk to people,” he said. To burnish his credentials, he took 44 hours of mediation training and volunteered to mediate in small claims court. So far, he has not signed any clients, but he remains confident that a marketing effort will build his practice. “That’s the trouble with an emerging field — nobody knows elder-care mediation exists,” Mr. Burke said.

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