As Baby Boomers move into their retirement years, the nation’s interest on aging with dignity has grown. The ABA collaborates with health and social services professionals, academics, and advocates to secure the legal rights, quality of life and autonomy of aging persons.
Leading large-scale reform in guardianship issues
Guardianship deprives an individual of virtually all legal rights to make decisions and choices. The decision-making ability of persons with disabilities, including older individuals with dementia, is often too quickly questioned and discounted. In many cases, courts appoint guardians for people who could continue to make their own decisions if they had the right support and services.
With a recent innovation grant from the Administration on Community Living, the Commission on Law & Aging will expand its network of 17 state groups that reform policies and procedures related to adult guardianship.
Paving the way for thorough health care planning
Good advance planning for health care decisions is a continuing conversation – about values, priorities and quality of life. To get the conversation started, the Commission offers a toolkit containing a variety of self-help worksheets, suggestions and resources.
The toolkit does not create a formal advance directive. Instead, it helps with the much harder job of discovering, clarifying and communicating what is important to an individual in the face of serious illness.
Free resources for lawyers and consumers
The Commission continues to improve the quality of service for elders by distributing legal resources for attorneys and legal professionals. These resources contain guidelines, tips and other helpful material to ensure that elders get the proper representation they deserve.
The PRACTICAL Tool helps lawyers identify and implement decision-making options that are less restrictive than guardianship for persons with disabilities.