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A brief look at the British Columbia Adult Guardianship Act

The protection of vulnerable adults in British Columbia is a serious issue for family members and the law alike. The Adult Guardianship Act exists because of the need for this protection and it is a very powerful tool concerned family members can use to acquire support for loved ones.

If you are unfamiliar with the AGA, here is a brief look at what the act is and how it functions for adults and their families in the BC province.

One of the most important things to understand about the AGA is that it fully supports self-determination for adults. This means it empowers vulnerable citizens to have protection while making their own decisions whenever possible. Some of the important principles of the act include:

-- Adults have the right to live how they choose and can accept or refuse assistance.

-- Adults have the right to receive effective support without undue intrusion or restriction.

-- All adults are presumed capable of making their own decisions until it is demonstrated otherwise.

The AGA also addresses issues of adult or elder abuse and negligence, offering assistance and support for those in need. Abuse can appear in many forms such as intimidation, assault, invasion of privacy, overmedication and even self-abuse. Neglect can also take several forms such as lack of necessary care or lack of attention leading to physical, emotional or mental harm. The act provides adults with elder abuse and neglect assistance whether the harmful treatment occurs in the adult's home or in a public facility or setting.

If you are concerned about a vulnerable adult in your life, the AGA can provide you with solutions. You will gain a better understanding of how the act can work for you by speaking with a lawyer experienced in elder law. A lawyer can also guide you in helping your loved one make sound decisions for his or her life.

Source: Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia, "BC’s Adult Guardianship Laws: Supporting Self Determination for Adults in British Columbia," accessed March 03, 2016

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