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Guardianship Services Program taking root in Porter County

Written by Bruce Lindner. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on March 04, 2020 with No Comments

Amber Poff, Indiana Guardianship Services program executive director and staff attorney, speaks to the Porter County Aging and Community Services in 2018 in this file photo.

Our agency is expanding its services with a new program in place at our offices.

We have been working with Amber Poff and her team at the Indiana Guardianship Services program, based in LaPorte County. We now have a grant and funding in place to have a full-time staff member on-site at our offices to help even more community members in Porter County.

The program allows IGS to serve as a guardian for adults who have been adjudicated incapacitated and have no other viable alternative for a guardian.

“A judge and doctor come together to determine if a person doesn’t understand the consequences of their decision-making. A guardian can make residential and medical decisions and assist with estate and financial decisions where it is appropriate,” said Poff, IGS executive director and staff attorney. “We have been serving 16 active clients in Porter County through a grant that provides for both LaPorte and Porter counties. Now that we have two separate pots of money for each county, we can onboard very quickly the 13 individuals who are on the waiting list.”

Our team has been coordinating this expansion since the spring of 2018, and we are ready to make an even larger impact on individuals’ lives.

The program will help clients be properly watched out for and taken care of when there is no one else to step in to help make decisions.

Amber has been in her role for about six years and continues to see the impact of the program.

“People are living longer than ever before, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine. But some are living lives of quantity, not quality,” she said. “They may be needing additional social supports. Families are more spread out than before, family members care, but can’t be here and elders are outliving their children.

“Then there’s this tremendous population of people who just don’t have an advocate. No matter what a person’s cognitive level is, they have certain wants, wishes and dreams and we cannot always discern what those are, but they still have a right to dignity.”

Volunteers will also help with the program. Those interested can contact our offices for more information and to learn details of training.

“We are teaming up with different community service organizations to integrate volunteers,” Poff said. “The volunteers are our eyes and ears and go out and make visits. Volunteers help make sure the clients’ needs are being advocated for and their wishes are being honored. They check on the environment to make sure it is clean, clothing is clean … Volunteers are friendly visitors who help us keep our finger on the pulse of what is going on.

“I say, “You are adulting for adults who cannot.”

We are planning a public open house for community members to learn more about the program in the near future. Watch our Facebook page for details.

All opinions, conclusions and recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bruce Lindner has worked in the non-profit world for more than 35 years and for the past 12 years has been serving as the executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services. For more information, contact him directly at 219-465-7144 or email at bhlindner@portercountyacs.org.

 

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About Bruce Lindner

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle.  Bruce Lindner has worked in the not-for-profit world for more than 25 years and has been executive director of Porter County Aging and Community Services for five. A native of the Region, he was raised in Portage and he graduated from Valparaiso University. You can call him at 219-464-9736 or e-mail at bhlindner@frontier.com.

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