National News: Preserving the Right to Self-determination: Supported Decision-Making

By: Aaron Bishop, Commissioner, Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and Edwin Walker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging

 

For many years, state courts have routinely assigned guardians to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they became adults. Older adults with dementia-related disorders also frequently have been assigned guardians. The trouble with guardianship is that it is a legal process. A court deems a person incapacitated or legally incompetent and assigns a substitute decision-maker for that person. Guardianship laws vary by state, but in some states, guardians are given the authority to make all financial, legal, and personal decisions on behalf of another person. Essentially, the person can lose ALL of his or her rights to independence, autonomy, and decision-making. Read more here.