Under the Mental Health Act's regulations, capacity assessors are created to provide professional assessments of the capacity of an individual to appreciate the consequences of his decisions.
Under the Substitute Decision Act decisions may be made on behalf of a person who is unable to understand and appreciate the information that needs to be considered to make sound decisions regarding healthcare, nutrition, shelter, clothing hygiene or safety. A substitute decision maker cannot step in without evidence of a lack of appreciation of reasonably foreseeable consequences of either making a decision or of failing to make a decision.
How does a diminishing lack of capacity appear to a neighbour, a grocer, a bank teller or barber? These are the front liners we are in contact with on a regular basis and to whom our waning capacity may reveal itself. Our front liners need to be equipped with a level of awareness to recognize needs that are interpersonal or spiritual or health related or that may be associated with the economic and financial situations of the people they are in regular contact with.
If a need is detected, there are various options available depending on the severity of the need. The advocacy services we offer can address elder needs and sift through the options to seek solutions that respect our clients' wishes and reduce the burden on loved ones.
Victoria M. Young
645 Norfolk St.N.