What is a Middle Ground Alternative?
Middle ground alternatives are legal documents that allow adults to keep some, but not all of the decision-making authority in their lives. Middle ground alternatives require legal documentation and/or court involvement.
Here are a few examples of middle ground alternatives to full guardianship:
Jason, a man with a serious illness, appoints someone to act as his health care Power of Attorney to make medical decisions for him when his illness becomes worse and he is unable to make health care decisions for himself. Jason’s power of attorney (POA) only makes medical decisions when Jason becomes too ill to make decisions for himself. Jason continues to handle all other personal and financial affairs.
Linda, a woman with a developmental disability, is in a dangerous and unhealthy living situation. She has agreed to have a Limited Residential Guardian to make decisions about where she lives. But she’s still able to make all other decisions about her life, including who her friends are and how she spends her money.
Harold, an elderly man in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, is working with a lawyer to create an advance directive, a document that will ensure that Harold’s wishes for medical treatment are recorded for the future. When Harold is no longer able to make decisions for himself, his advance directive will communicate his health care wishes to family members and medical providers.