By Jill Ball, President of VIP America
This is a question that hopefully will not be needed in the lifetime of a loved one or someone you know. It is a broader subject to adequately cover here but can be summarized with resources provided beyond that for those who may want more information. Guardianship or conservatorship is a legal process that for all intents and purposes should be used as a last resort because it removes significant rights from an individual. This, according to the National Guardianship Association (NGA), is when a person can no longer make safe decisions and communicate them for themselves and/or their property and all other alternatives have been exhausted, that guardianship may be the next reasonable step.
Who determines the guardianship and how is that managed? Because the rights of an individual are being taken away there is an extensive process followed to protect and establish the ‘least intrusive measures to assure as much autonomy as possible’ according to the NGA. The extent of a guardian’s authority is established by the court and governed by state statute which can vary from state to state.
Guardians must report annually to court which is also responsible to investigate any allegations reported to them. The Office of Public and Professional Guardians appoints and monitors public guardian offices and oversees the registration of professional guardians.
Who can be a guardian? The appointed guardian can be a friend or family member, or a public or private entity. If there is not a family member or friend available or willing, the court may appoint a public guardian for those who cannot afford the services of a professional guardian.
More information can be found with the Office of Public & Professional Guardians (OPPG) and the Florida Department of Elder Affairs at elderaffairs.state.fl.us>doea>spgo. If you suspect abuse or an unsafe environment for an elderly or disabled person you can call the abuse hotline 1-800-962-2873, TTY: 711 or 1-800-914-0004.
VIP America has referred qualified Home Health Aids, Certified Nursing Assistants and Nurses for the past 23 years helping people stay independent and safe in their homes. Call today for more information at 772-220-6005 or visit our website at vipamerica.com.