Community Joins Adult Guardianship Program Discussion

Community Joins Adult Guardianship Program Discussion
By: Porter County Aging and Community Services Last Updated: July 3, 2018

Community members are bringing their backgrounds and expertise to the conversation surrounding adult guardianship needs in Porter County.

Porter County Aging and Community Services’ board of directors and staff members are working with these interested individuals as well as Amber Poff, executive director and staff attorney at LaPorte-based Indiana Guardianship Services.

IGS is already serving a limited number of individuals in Porter County who are in need of a guardian, but many more are on a waiting list, said Bruce Lindner, PCACS executive director.

“It all started with a casual conversation with Amber. The reason for the meeting with our community members was to get a handle on what our organization can do and receive some insights from the community,” he said. “It helps to receive ideas from those who have worked in the field.”

Poff had recently detailed what her agency is all about and how it serves the community to the PCACS board. The program allows the agency to serve as a guardian for adults who have been adjudicated incapacitated and have no other viable alternative for a guardian. The agency utilizes trained professionals as well as volunteers to advocate for at-risk adults.

Attorney Christopher M. Ripley of Blachly, Tabor, Bozik & Hartman, who does work in the elder law arena, Marti Pizzini, who is retired and had worked in the home health care industry, and Joe Frankus, who had served an Illinois legal aid organization as an elder law attorney, all joined the discussion.

“Guardianship can be for those without anyone or who are alienated from their families,” Pizzini said. “If a family has always been dysfunctional, getting older doesn’t make it any better.”

“We can think about educating with forms on the (PCACS) Web site,” Frankus said, which would help with situations where the families are involved. “This is a growing problem with Baby Boomers aging and living longer and having to be taken care of longer.”

“Collecting information and having knowledgeable volunteers on-site periodically could be initial first steps to establishing a larger presence for an adult guardianship program in Porter County,” Lindner said.

“I would like to see PCACS provide services for those who have nothing and nobody,” added PCACS board member Kim Wiseman. “We need to be supporting that aspect for those at the end of their lives with no one to turn to.”

“Working with IGS would help serve those who fall into this area. We will continue to discuss this much-needed service and evaluate the best steps to move forward. It was extremely useful to gather like-minded individuals who have insight and expertise to offer. This is a program that needs more attention. Can we help it along?” Lindner said.

Community members who have input on this subject should contact Lindner at (219) 465-7144 or bhlindner@portercountyacs.org.

PCACS’ mission is to extend a helping hand to seniors, those with disabilities and low-income residents by providing services to improve their quality of life, including transportation, energy and emergency assistance, Section 8 and ramp programs.

For more information, visit www.portercountyacs.org.