SAGA Blog

Featured Articles and News About Guardianships

Baby Boomers Are Not Babies Anymore

February 13, 2018

Baby boomers are not babies anymore. In fact, the youngest of the boomers are in their mid-50s. In fact in some states, the elderly population (persons 65 and older) will outnumber children under the age of fifteen by 2035. With a segment of the population growing at such a rate, there is a definite need for more service providers for the elderly. One such service provider that is needed are guardianship service providers.


A guardianship service provider becomes a substitution decision-maker for incapacitated adults (“wards”) who are not able to make decisions for themselves. An adult may become “incapacitated” due to health issues both physical or mental. One of the common reasons a person becomes incapacitated is due to the onset of dementia. If a person becomes incapacitated, a substitute decision-maker becomes necessary.


A guardianship is court-approved and court-supervised designated decision-maker as described by the National Guardianship Association. The guardian provides necessary legal consent for psychotropic medications, special programs, participation in education, financial decisions and access to confidential records and reports. The guardian also has authority to speak for their ward in selecting appropriate living arrangements. The VOR has a complete list of answers to frequently asked questions on their website.


Why is a guardianship service provider necessary, can’t a family member or friend be a guardian? Family members and friends can serve as guardians; in many cases, a family or friend is better suited to serve in such a role. However, there are more and more instances where an incapacitated person does not have a family member or friend willing to act as guardian. Some people that need guardianship services do not have family members that live close and others are estranged from their family. Unfortunately, there are more and more instances where there isn’t a family member or friend available or willing to step up and act as a guardian. In other cases, there is not a suitable person in the incapacitated person’s life to step up as guardian. In situations where there is not a person willing, able or suitable to serve as guardian, a guardianship service provider becomes the best alternative.


Professional guardianship service providers play a key role in “filling in the void” in circumstances where there is not another choice. There are a variety of different service providers including non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, institutional providers (ie. Banks, hospitals), and volunteer-based guardianship service providers. There is a national movement to require professional guardianship service providers to have standards of practice adopted for the operations. Uniform standards of practice help protect wards from abuse and exploitation.


As guardianships become more and more necessary, having national or at least state standards for guardianship service providers is important. Those standards should be applied to family or friends who are acting as guardians to ensure that the ward is protected from physical abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. For decades, the elderly population has been one of the most ignored and undeserved population segments. With the elderly population quickly becoming the largest segment of population, the elderly can no longer be ignored. 

For more information contact Brigitte Washburn.

Baby Boomers Are Not Babies Anymore

February 13, 2018

Baby boomers are not babies anymore. In fact, the youngest of the boomers are in their mid-50s. In fact in some states, the elderly population (persons 65 and older) will outnumber children under the age of fifteen by 2035. With a segment of the population growing at such a rate, there is a definite need for more service providers for the elderly. One such service provider that is needed are guardianship service providers.


A guardianship service provider becomes a substitution decision-maker for incapacitated adults (“wards”) who are not able to make decisions for themselves. An adult may become “incapacitated” due to health issues both physical or mental. One of the common reasons a person becomes incapacitated is due to the onset of dementia. If a person becomes incapacitated, a substitute decision-maker becomes necessary.


A guardianship is court-approved and court-supervised designated decision-maker as described by the National Guardianship Association. The guardian provides necessary legal consent for psychotropic medications, special programs, participation in education, financial decisions and access to confidential records and reports. The guardian also has authority to speak for their ward in selecting appropriate living arrangements. The VOR has a complete list of answers to frequently asked questions on their website.


Why is a guardianship service provider necessary, can’t a family member or friend be a guardian? Family members and friends can serve as guardians; in many cases, a family or friend is better suited to serve in such a role. However, there are more and more instances where an incapacitated person does not have a family member or friend willing to act as guardian. Some people that need guardianship services do not have family members that live close and others are estranged from their family. Unfortunately, there are more and more instances where there isn’t a family member or friend available or willing to step up and act as a guardian. In other cases, there is not a suitable person in the incapacitated person’s life to step up as guardian. In situations where there is not a person willing, able or suitable to serve as guardian, a guardianship service provider becomes the best alternative.


Professional guardianship service providers play a key role in “filling in the void” in circumstances where there is not another choice. There are a variety of different service providers including non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations, institutional providers (ie. Banks, hospitals), and volunteer-based guardianship service providers. There is a national movement to require professional guardianship service providers to have standards of practice adopted for the operations. Uniform standards of practice help protect wards from abuse and exploitation.


As guardianships become more and more necessary, having national or at least state standards for guardianship service providers is important. Those standards should be applied to family or friends who are acting as guardians to ensure that the ward is protected from physical abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. For decades, the elderly population has been one of the most ignored and undeserved population segments. With the elderly population quickly becoming the largest segment of population, the elderly can no longer be ignored. 

For more information contact Brigitte Washburn.

Why Are We Ignoring the Elderly?

May 4, 2018

In large part, our society ignores the elderly and disabled. Whether it’s politicians or the media, segments of our population that are the most vulnerable are given the least amount of attention and services. Because of this disregard, there are many deficits in the services provided to these populations. In my brief tenure as a professional guardian, I have encountered numerous instances where the services offered fail to provide for the needs of our clients’ needs. It’s not only frustrating, but it’s very heart-wrenching to not be able to get these people who are relying on us the care that they desperately need.

One of the greatest obstacles I’ve come across so far is the lack of unification between the different service providers. In my daily work as a guardian, I interact with a number of different service providers including hospitals, care centers, home care providers, Adult Protective Agencies, FSSA, case management organizations, Areas Agencies on Aging, VA, doctor offices and psychological facilities to name a few. The one common thread between them all: no consistency. One document that will work for one facility doesn’t satisfy the requirements for another. It’s mind-blowing how often our work in getting services for these individuals is impeded by paperwork and bureaucracy. Many of the service providers aren’t even aware of its counterpart. It’s asinine to me that so many of these programs exist yet none of them work together to provide a holistic approach to caring for and serving the needs of these incredibly vulnerable individuals.

In the few months of having our doors open at SAGA, it’s very clear what service providers are easy to work with and which providers are patient-focused. As a guardian, it is my responsibility to be get people the best care possible. For family members acting as guardians, I feel for the treacherous path of navigating these waters alone. I don’t like to be one to provide a problem without a potential solution. There is a state effort to provide standardized guardianship practices which I think will be an initial step in getting a more unified service process for the elderly and disabled. I look forward to seeing the Taskforce’s developments in this regard.

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