WHAT IS GUARDIANSHIP?
For older adults needing intensive and complete
care, guardianship may be the best option.
As opposed to Geriatric Care Management,
where a family contracts with someone to assist
them through the aging process, guardianship
is a legal process. It is a deeply involved process
which is generally the last resort option. Generally,
when a person has become incapable of
managing his or her financial or personal affairs,
a court appointed guardian becomes responsible
for the management of a client’s affairs.
Guardians can be any of the following:
A family member or friend
• Any resident of this state who is 18 years
of age or older.
• A nonresident of the state may serve as
guardian of a family member if they are:
• Related by blood;
• A legally adopted child or adoptive parent;
• A spouse, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, niece,
or nephew of the person;
A Professional Guardian
• Public or Professional Guardians are
needed when a person does not have the
ability to pay for a guardian or there are no
family members who are willing to take care
of them. Professional guardians undergo a
training process and are appointed by the
court. Florida has 17 professional guardianship
Guardian services are paid for by the client
unless they cannot afford it, in which case the
state supplements payment to the guardian.
WHAT DO GUARDIANS DO?
Guardians manage the following:
• Medical Treatment: A guardian may manage
personal, medical and mental health
services for the person, including but not
limited to, medical treatment, medications,
and end-of-life decisions.
• Health and Wellness: A guardian may
consent to and monitor non-medical services
such as counseling, education, service
groups, or classes.
• Confidential Information: A guardian may
release and/ or obtain confidential information
about the person.
• Property Management: A guardian manages
a person’s property including any
financial transactions with said property, if
approved through the courts. A guardian
may also select residential living facilities
for the ward, if necessary.
HOW CAN I TELL IF MY FAMILY
MEMBER NEEDS A GUARDIAN?
Guardianship options are meant for those
individuals who have a complete loss of capacity,
and do not have a Power of Attorney or
Health Care Surrogate already in place. Loss
of capacity is a legal process determined by
the court. However, there are warning signs
that can assist a family when determining the
capacity of their loved one. Any one sign may
not be cause for alarm, but should a loved one
have multiple signs or if signs are increasing or
become more intense, a family should consider
• Forgetfulness –As we age, our memory
becomes less quick than it may have been.
However, ongoing forgetfulness is also an
early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease
and other old age-related dementia.
For more information