Coleman advocates for adults and seniors who are unable to make necessary decisions to protect themselves. Court appointed legal guardians, trained Coleman staff, ensure that vulnerable adults are provided with food, shelter, medical care, legal services and other basic needs to support their health, safety and comfort.
What Is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a legal relationship in which the guardian is given the authority by the court to make decisions on behalf of a person (ward) who is unable to make and/or communicate decisions on their own. A guardian is the person appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of someone else. Judges and court magistrates supervise the guardians. Also known as elder conservatorship, guardianship provides an individual the legal authority to make decisions for a vulnerable adult or senior. In this legal relationship, the guardian is entrusted with the care and welfare of the protected person, or ward—helping assure bills are paid and making personal and medical decisions for the individual protected by guardianship.
Why Are Guardians Appointed?
When older adults are unable to care or advocate for themselves, a guardianship may become necessary. Legal guardianship assures care and advocacy for adults and seniors in need. For adults who are unable to manage their personal affairs, guardians are appointed by a Probate Court. In the case of senior citizens, they may be incapable of caring for themselves or make appropriate decisions regarding their own welfare due cognitive impairment like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or disabilities. Problems arise when seniors may no longer be able to remember to take important medications, manage daily hygiene, or handle their finances. This is when guardianship is often the best strategy to help assure the health, safety, and a measure of independence.
A typical case might be when an individual with a diagnosis of dementia or developmental disability, struggles with homelessness, or requires medical or mental health treatment and are unable to consent for the support and services they need. In these circumstances, Coleman would assess the case, then file the case in the Probate Court. A Probate Court judge would make the final determination as to whether an individual would be deemed incompetent – in which case, that individual would be assigned to a guardian.
General Powers and Duties of a Guardian
While guardians assure the basic needs of the ward are met, they don’t provide hands-on or live-in caregiving; however they do help make important decisions regarding this type of care. They also advocate for individuals who can no longer make decisions for themselves. A guardian is able to consent for treatment, coordinate housing and other care options, and serve as an overall coordinator of care. Under guardianship, Coleman clients experience better outcomes and increased stability due to our services.
Guardians are also required to file either annual or biannual reports about where the protected person lives, the services that the protected person receives, the protected person’s physical and mental condition. This enables the court to supervise and monitor the condition of the ward, and to determine whether guardianship needs to continue.
Coleman Guardianship Services
At Coleman, our goal is to improve the quality of life for all those we serve – providing stability and care that can change the destiny for vulnerable populations and foster recovery.
Coleman Guardianship Services works to advocate for vulnerable clients to ensure they receive proper care. Services include essential services required to promote healthy living:
- Petition the court for guardianship services
- Assess of necessary services by a case manager
- Case management
- Arrange support services
- Oversee living arrangements
- Make informed medical decisions
- Mandatory reporting
Once a client stabilizes and makes progress, we begin to work with them to have the guardianship removed and support clients with programs and services that promote greater independence. While this may not be possible for every client, we continue to work with all clients to help them achieve their personal goals in treatment.