The Elderly in Guardianship: A Crisis of Constitutional Proportions by Mark D. Andrews

Excerpt: “The guardianship system is in a state of crisis as it continues to undermine the interests of the elderly.

Due to both federal and state reluctance to enact and reform legislation concerning guardianship procedures, the elderly subject to this system are being denied their constitutional rights. In his note, Mr. Andrews emphasizes that because the imposition of guardianship on an elderly person severely curtails the elder’s rights and liberties, this system must focus on the protection of the elderly’s constitutional rights. Mr. Andrews critiques the state of the current guardianship establishment. In addition, he concludes that both constitutional and policy reasons compel the need for change in this system. Mr. Andrews then provides recommendations by which to improve guardianship in order to effectively achieve its goal – protection of the elderly ward.

I. Introduction

A significant number of legislatures have not recognized the autonomy and liberty the U.S. Constitution guarantees older Americans. Many elderly lack the resources, knowledge, and stamina to advocate zealously their own interests and rights relative to the novel issues that accompany old age. Guardianship is the system whereby the state is supposed to care for and protect its elderly 1citizens who are without the means to care for themselves. Too often, this system – designed to protect the elderly – is used to exploit them and rob them of their dignity and autonomy.

Guardianship threatens to remove from the elderly the ability to make basic life decisions and to live unfettered by the control …”

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Copyright (c) 1997 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
The Elder Law Journal

NOTE: The Elderly in Guardianship: A Crisis of Constitutional Proportions

Spring, 1997  5 Elder L.J. 75

Author  Mark D. Andrews

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