Adult Guardianship Program
Guardianships are a useful legal tool to help people who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves – such as those suffering from dementia or developmental disability. A guardian can help ensure that the protected person lives with security and dignity to the greatest extent possible given their circumstances.
VASIA (Volunteer Advocate for Seniors or Incapacitated Adults) volunteers are community members trained and overseen by the Guardianship Program Manager. Once trained, VASIA volunteers are appointed by a local judge to advocate for incapacitated adults unable to manage their own financial assets or personal affairs.
If you are interested in becoming a VASIA volunteer, or to submit an application, please click the link below.
Alternatives to Guardianship
Guardianship is an important legal tool to help people who lack capacity to make decisions for themselves. The Monroe & Owen County Adult Guardianship Program of Area 10 Agency on Aging can provide volunteer guardian advocates that help ensure that the person lives safely, protect income and assets, manage finances and access needed care.
Guardianship is a major restriction on the rights of an individual. Pursuing a guardianship is not the only option in some cases and may be unnecessary if less restrictive alternatives meet the needs of the person. Furthermore, capacity can increase with time in some instances.
In April 2019, Indiana Guardianship law began requiring consideration of less restrictive alternatives in guardianship petitions, or evidence that alternatives will not meet the needs of the person.
Less restrictive alternatives include, in part, appointing and naming a Power of Attorney and/or Health Care Representative. For health care decision-making, Indiana law designates a hierarchy of persons authorized to consent for incapable parties. Additionally, there are options for managing money and finances that are effective alternatives to guardianship. This can include direct deposit, bill paying services and automatic bill pay. Social Security retirement, disability, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) use representative payees to receive, manage, and account for the income of beneficiaries that need help managing their benefits. Lastly, Supported Decision-Making (“SDM”) agreements allow an incapacitated individual to make some decisions with advice and assistance from advisors the person has selected. Supported decision-making allows individuals to use their own support systems to make decisions rather than having a guardian make the decision for them.
The above-mentioned are some examples of less restrictive alternatives.
To learn more about less restrictive alternatives visit the following resources:
Learn more about guardianship’s by watching the video “Adult Guardianship: What You Need to Know” and reviewing the fact sheet below.