Denise Diao heads to court.

Denise Diao heads to court.

Mr. G welcomed us warmly to his room at the assisted living facility. He showed us family photos on his wall and told us who was in each photo.  Denise Diao explained that the county social services department had filed a court case claiming Mr. G was incompetent.  Our job as his court-appointed “guardian ad litem” was to explain his views and investigate his situation.  “I do need help with some things, I agree with that,” he said. But he didn’t think he needed to be in a locked wing of the building.  “Why can’t I go home?” he asked.

Denise met with the facility administrator and reviewed Mr. G’s medical records. Then she went to Mr. G’s home to meet with several members of his family.  They described disturbing incidents of Mr. G’s anger and confusion.  The family lived in a crowded home situation on a busy road.  Denise recommended to the court that a guardian be appointed for Mr. G. Fortunately, the court chose a responsible daughter whom he trusts.

By taking into consideration Mr. G’s very weak family situation, we reluctantly concluded that he met the legal standard as an “incompetent adult.”  The challenges of caring for a cognitively impaired relative at home are sometimes beyond a family’s abilities and resources.

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