Due to circumstances such as geographical distance, work, demands at home, or health issues, family members are frequently unable to provide the required advocacy services needed by a loved one who is no longer able to handle his or her own affairs or make their own decisions. In addition, adult children often prefer to remain in the family role rather than in a more demanding business-focused or management role. Therefore, professional guardians can be designated to exercise the legal rights of a person legally determined to be incapacitated—a determination most often related to age-related illness such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or Parkinson’s. Other reasons for this designation can include developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injury, or mental health problems.
The role of COA’s professional guardians is to look after the social, psychological, direct service, health, and personal needs of those determined incapacitated. COA guardians create care plans and then make arrangements for medical, mental, rehabilitative, and/or personal care. They also protect persons under guardianship from financial and other types of abuse, ensuring that our clients (wards) are safe and properly cared for the remainder of their lives.
COA is the Public Guardian for the 7th Judicial Circuit and one of 17 public guardianship offices in the state, providing services to those deemed indigent. Private guardianship or durable power of attorney is available for private-pay at an hourly rate, and can be arranged by individuals long before they or a loved one becomes unable to take care of their own affairs.