Guardianship: A Daunting Challenge Needing Cross Disability Activism

Misty Dion, Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living in North Carolina, and Ron Bassman, Ph.D., MindFreedom International

We all hope to stay healthy as we age and continue to live as independently as possible. Most of us at some point in our lives will need assistance. Would anyone choose to live in a long-term congregate care facility if the supports are available that would enable us to live in community. The COVID pandemic has alerted us to the dangers of Nursing Homes and united cross disability advocacy in pursuing the common goal of getting people whose expressed wishes are to leave institutions into community living. Whatever designated disability one has, they must be afforded the opportunity to participate in the decisions that affect them. The panel will describe Supported Decision Making (now in 14 States) and how to bring reform into the nursing home industry which is fed by an unjust guardian system. Utilizing MindFreedom International’s Shield program in concert with Independent Living Centers and Protection & Advocacy lawyers we hope to provide resources and pressure to support the rights of individuals to make informed choices.