Monthly case histories about the real guardianship experience
Guardianship Spotlight:
Heather Hasandras
FSGA Board of Directors, Owner of Dignity Guardianship
How I Became Involved in Guardianship

Heather Hasandras
I worked in eldercare and special needs management the past 15+ years, including the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Miami Jewish Home for the Aged and Florida Long Term Care. I have coordinated care for seniors during the many changes in our laws, for example, when the senior programs moved from state run to managed care organizations.
 
My decision to become a guardian comes from a series of life experiences. I had the honor of managing my terminally ill mother's care from out of state. In many cultures, protective care for elders and those with special needs is an honor that will repay you with long life. By caring for my mother, it made me realize that there are many family members out of state that need someone local they can trust to protect and care for their loved ones. I view guardianship as that bridge. It allows me utilize all of the resources that I have acquired over the years to benefit my clients.

Guardianship Senior Citizen Hands
Guardianship: Recovering Assets, Achieving Peace

I had an elder client whose spouse passed away while they were both disoriented with dementia. Their relatives were out of state. Before I became involved as their guardian, a local person they knew for many years entered the picture and the next thing you knew, the person's home and assets were signed over. They were kicked out of their own home, their bank accounts were raided and their health dramatically declined.
 
Thankfully someone noticed and the family was alerted.
 
Guardianship was put in place. The bank accounts were frozen thanks to the Florida law that protects elders against exploitation. We were able to bring an action against the perpetrator that restored much of the missing funds and got the home back in the name of the ward.
 
We established a depository with court oversight that protects the wards assets, as well as a monthly budget so the client can enjoy peace and happiness. The client now knows that there is someone who will advocate on their behalf, including monitoring their well-being. I am thankful to play such an important role in someone's life. I cannot imagine what may have happened if there was no guardian in this situation. As our populations grow, it will be increasingly important to protect our most vulnerable.
What is a good tip for those considering guardianship for a loved one?
Light Bulb

My first recommendation would be to plan ahead before guardianship is needed. It is the most restrictive and protective, but a last resort. If you are already in a situation where you need a guardian, interview a few to make sure that there is a good fit. Go to guardianship meetings and conferences to better understand the roles and rules and how they can work to help you.

- Heather
We hope these articles are informative for you. Please keep in mind  that some of the views expressed are not necessarily the opinions or  philosophies of other FSGA members. We recommend hiring a guardian  that is a good fit for you.
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