Guardian program for elderly beneficial

Showing care and compassion for people who are unable to help themselves is important and speaks well of individuals and communities that demonstrate such help through their actions.

Bartholomew County already does that through the use of Court Appointed Special Advocates, volunteers who look out for the best interests of juveniles who are in the court system because of abuse or neglect.

The county is taking another step forward in that regard by recruiting and training up to 35 volunteer guardians to help the indigent elderly — those who have no one available or willing to carry out guardianship responsibilities.

A memorandum of understanding has been approved by the Bartholomew County commissioners between Thrive Alliance and Bartholomew County’s court system to provide help on a year-round basis. Thrive Alliance will recruit and train the volunteer guardians, although Bartholomew County Adult Court Services will oversee the program.

A $50,000 grant by the Indiana Office of Court Services and a required match by Thrive Alliance make the program possible.

This is welcome news as about 400 indigent elderly in Bartholomew County need someone to fill guardianship duties. Currently, only one couple, both employees of Bartholomew County Adult Protective Services, handle such cases. That’s an impossible task. And, the need is expected to increase with more Baby Boomers entering retirement.

This partnership to help the indigent elderly is a good idea and thankfully one that will go forward now that a previous requirement of county funds being invested has been dropped.

This program will provide many more helping hands to ensure that the best interests of the indigent elderly are considered.