AARP has a goal to protect vulnerable adults and provide their caregivers with the tools necessary to make important decisions. When an older adult plans for the future, they often consider what would happen if they develop difficulty in making decisions. For instance, this might happen if they have a disease that is progressive and could affect their ability to think clearly.
AARP supports caregivers and encourages people to use the least restrictive option. We can think about it as three options beginning with the least restrictive and progressing as the situation changes:
- Supported Decision Making: enables a person, who can make his or her own life decisions but needs some assistance doing so, to turn to a trusted family member, friend, or caregiver, to help make these decisions.
- Durable Power of Attorney: When you complete the legal documents called “durable power of attorney,” you give another person authority to handle your personal business and make decisions on your behalf. A person creates the power of attorney for use when he or she unable to handle his own affairs.
- Adult Guardianship: a process by which a state court appoints an individuals to care for the well-being, and possible finances of another person who is unable to care for him or herself. It removes fundamental rights and may increase opportunities for abuse.
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Elder abuse affects the financial, physical and emotional health of the victim. Learn how AARP staff and volunteers are fighting against it below: