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The Need
"Over 10,000 Massachusetts residents need a guardian --
and don't have one.
"

Each day the Massachusetts courts must appoint guardians for people who can no longer care for themselves. These people may be elderly, physically or mentally ill, or mentally impaired, but they all share a common characteristic; their faculties have become impaired to the point where they can no longer safely provide for themselves. They need guardianship services. Many of these individuals, however, have no family member who is available, willing or able to take on the responsibilities of being a guardian.
 Massachusetts has a larger share of the aged 65+ population compared to the rest of the U.S. as a whole, and it has an even larger proportion of the 85+ population.

As of 2000, 21.6% of the Commonwealth's population is 65 years of age or older.  In 2010, one-quarter of its population will be aged 65 or over (24.9%).

See Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs Aging Trends 

Unless the individual has significant financial resources to pay for guardianship services, or is receiving anti-psychotic medication, many of them will not receive guardianship services. Too often, they slip through the cracks of our medical and judicial systems.

Alzheimer's patients languish in institutions, over-medicated, with little or no quality of life. Housebound elders, faculties failing them, live precariously in their dwindling worlds, often underfed, undernourished, out of touch with society -- until their plight is noticed by the state. Without a voice, without a hand to help them, the state's only remedy for these individuals normally is to take them from their homes, remove them from all that is dear and familiar to them, and place them in state facilities. These people then become part of the medical system's problem, often under-attended, overmedicated, and the vicious cycle continues.

These individuals are our parents, neighbors, children, and brothers and sisters. They are people with a unique need. A guardian provides everything for these individuals that they would do for themselves, if they were still able. Without a guardian, and despite service providers with the best intentions, these special individuals may wind up without the most basic necessities of life, including food, health care, human contact and care.

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