Skip to main content

Aging Adults


Older adults, as a natural part of living, age into various disabilities and will face many of the same challenges and decisions as their peers without disabilities in their older years. Declining abilities and memory will require new choices, such as creating a living will, and who to choose for support in financial or health decisions. Decisions about what the person wants to happen as they age need to be made, and, if the person cannot feed and care for their pet, deciding who is willing, able, and committed to do so. They will be navigating tough issues which might include living and dying with dignity, protecting themselves against exploitation and abuse and keeping their rights and dignity.

It is often the case at some point, as the older person ages, the family of the older adult, usually the children, will be advised to seek guardianship. They are told guardianship will make sure they get to continue to be involved in making decisions for their older adult family member about their health care and financial matters. Families are told guardianship will keep their older adult family member safe from danger. To family members who may already be overwhelmed and concerned about their family member’s aging issues, this may seem like the perfect answer. But guardianship does not keep anyone safe, and supported decision-making offers a better way to be involved with and provide support to your loved one. Guardianship takes away rights, choices and creates an artificial legal relationship.

Using a person-centered planning process, supported decision-making for this age group involves clear information, open communication, increased respect for the person’s decisions and honoring the person’s preferences. It may also prevent difficult relationships from becoming worse. We have included information we hope will help you support the older adult in your life as they age and help maintain or improve your relationship with them.

Resources for Aging Adults