The Gerontologist, Vol 37, Issue 4 518-526, Copyright © 1997 by The Gerontological Society of America
Criteria for placing older adults in public conservatorship: age as proxy for need
Department of Gerontology, University of South Florida, Tampa 33620- 8100, USA. [email protected]
This study was conducted on a sample of 589 adult public conservatees in
Los Angeles County, California, to determine whether the process used to
assign them into conservatorship is age-blind, as California law suggests.
Findings indicate that age is not associated with the amount of time spent
evaluating adults for conservatorship but that increasing age, rather than
need, is associated with assignment into Probate conservatorship. The
association of age with Probate conservatorship appears to result from the
vagueness of the criteria for Probate conservatorship-unable to
manage-resulting in the use of age as a proxy for need in the case of
decisionally impaired older adults.