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    Professional, board-certified healthcare chaplains are the spiritual care specialists on the healthcare team as doctors and nurses focus on caring for the body. Anyone diagnosed with a serious illness or living with a chronic illness and physical pain may be facing both stress and distress that can be not only physical but emotional and spiritual.

    Professional chaplains do not provide definitive answers to questions and issues of spiritual distress. Instead, they help people in spiritual distress to identify and draw upon their sources of spiritual strength -- regardless of religion or beliefs. Professional chaplains will accept without judgment the person in pain’s own beliefs, faith and practice as well as their doubts and misgivings.

    A healthcare chaplain becomes board certified by one of the professional associations when he or she meets the requirements: has completed graduate level study and 1,600 hours of supervised clinical training, demonstrates competencies through a rigorous peer review process, and commits to a professional code of ethics that prohibits proselytizing. Some professional chaplains are also ordained clergy or recognized religious/spiritual leaders depending on their tradition; some are not.

    While local clergy and religious leaders who volunteer to see people in hospitals usually serve only people of their own religious faith, professional healthcare chaplains seek to care for everyone -- whoever you are and whatever you believe.

    It’s true that if you’re angry with God, the idea of talking to a person whose role is explicitly religious may not be appealing; however, a chaplain will neither lecture nor judge. He or she will, however, listen, and a good listener may be hard to find if your loved ones are also grieving and struggling to make sense of things.
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    ACareConscious answered
    In general, there is a conflict of interest if an acting or potential guardian or conservator has personal or financial motivations to make decisions that are not completely on behalf of the care recipient. Here are a few points to consider:
    • A guardian coordinates the provision of services but should not provide them.
    • A guardian must be independent of all service providers and must make service decisions solely on behalf of the care recipient.
    • A guardian must not pool the funds of the care recipient with other funds.
    • A guardian must not sell or transfer ownership of the care recipient’s property for the benefit of himself, a family member or other third party. All sales or transfers must be for full value.
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    ACareConscious answered
    A guardian is someone appointed by the court to make legal financial and personal decisions for an incapable person. The three types of guardianship are:
    • full guardianship: comprehensive decision-making authority and responsibility over personal and/or legal and financial affairs
    • limited guardianship: decision-making authority and responsibility over selected needs such as healthcare or property
    • joint guardianship: more than one individual sharing guardianship authority and responsibility
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    ACareConscious answered
    If you suspect that a guardian is not acting in the best interests of his or her care recipient (ward), you can report misconduct or suspicion of misconduct to a judge. The court can then determine whether the appointed guardian is fulfilling his or her responsibilities. If not, the judge can remove the guardian from responsibility and appoint someone else.

    Also, the care recipient can petition the judge for certain rights, such as to participate in groups or decide what setting to live in. Furthermore, if the care recipient's guardian has consented to medical care, he or she or another interested party can ask for a hearing to determine whether it’s really in his or her best interest.
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    ACareConscious answered
    The process of appointing a guardian usually begins when a family member or close friend of a care recipient petitions the court to act as guardian on the recipient’s behalf. The court schedules a hearing, at which time a magistrate, judge or jury will hear from doctors, family members and others close to the care recipient to decide whether the recipient is competent to manage his or her own affairs. If the answer is no, the court appoints a guardian. But if anyone interviewed objects, the matter goes to a trial.
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    ACareConscious answered
    A care recipient can object to guardianship and has the full right to attend the court hearing regarding his or her guardianship. The recipient also has the right to:
    • get an independent evaluation
    • hire or be appointed an attorney
    • bar a personal doctor and certain others from testifying against him or her
    A protected person cedes only those rights granted to the guardian or conservator by the court. Without specific authorization by the court, the guardian or conservator cannot change a protected person's parental rights, marital status, state of residence or power of attorney.
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    ACareConscious answered
    A guardian is someone who assumes legal responsibility for the personal care of an incapable person, often including the management of his or her financial and legal affairs. An incapable person may also be referred to as the protected person or the ward. A guardian is appointed by the court. A legal guardian is under the supervision of the court and must make periodic reports on the status or completion of court-appointed responsibilities.

    A guardian's responsibilities typically include the management of property, bills, medical decisions (including consent to surgery and other medical procedures), financial matters, residential affairs and monthly reporting to court officials.

    Guardianship/conservatorship policies vary from state to state.
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    ACareConscious answered
    Identity theft is the most common form of consumer crime, and seniors are at greater risk. Take the following actions to protect your loved one from this malfeasance:
    • Shred all documents containing personal identification information (including bank statements, credit card statements and receipts, new credit card offers).
    • Closely guard your loved one's Social Security number. Keep his or her Social Security card out of his or her wallet or purse, if possible.
    • The less information that appears on their checks, the better. Do not include a home phone number or a Social Security number, and consider having his or her first initial rather than first name printed on the checks.
    • Do not let him or her sign the back of any credit cards. Write “Photo ID required” instead.
    • Make sure his or her PINs and passwords are not easily discernible.
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    ACareConscious answered
    Concerns about senior loved ones falling victim to telephone scams are legitimate. Telephone scammers steal billions each year, mostly from people age 50 and over. To help prevent this, your best bet is to register your loved one’s phone with the Do Not Call Registry website. This should greatly limit the number of calls he or she receives, and make it easier to follow your directive to not buy anything over the phone without consulting you first, no matter how attractive or seemingly legitimate the offer.
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    ACareConscious answered
    Home improvement scams perpetrated against seniors are popular because they seem to work. Often, the perpetrator frightens the elder homeowner into believing that some dangerous condition must be immediately remedied, or that there is a special tax or financial incentive for having the work done right away.

    The best bet is to establish a policy where your loved one refuses all door-to-door solicitations -- phone ones, too. If the solicitor has planted a safety doubt, have your loved one call a licensed contractor for a bid.