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Florida lawmakers promote guardianship reform

When hearing discussions about guardianships, the thoughts of many people in Florida may initially turn to guardianships of minor children. Another common situation resulting in the need for designation of a guardian is incapacity due to a disability or a mental illness. With a growing elderly population, such guardianships can be created to help provide care for aging adults.

Living relatives and family members who are competent and wish to be involved can often be identified as guardians or conservators for elderly people. In some cases, a person may have no available relatives. Such was the case of a Florida man who recently passed away at the age of 101. By the time a court appointed guardian was named for him, his wife had died and he had no other known family members in this country.

His story, however, was not one of success in the world of courts identifying legal authority over elderly persons. The man was put into a locked unit at a facility for Alzheimer’s patients. Reports indicate that his complaints about this situation stirred action from an ombudsman with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. The man was moved out of the unit and his case provided inspiration for Florida lawmakers to push for reform of the laws governing guardianships and elder abuse.

Elderly people can be just as vulnerable as children when it comes to being the targets of abuse. Anyone who suspects or who has experienced elder abuse may want to talk to an attorney for help.

Source: ABCActionNews.com, “Man who helped shine spotlight on guardianship abuse in Florida dies at age 101,” Adam Walser, May 20, 2015

 

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