Helping a person with an impairment or disability
This guide has information about
- Definitions you need to know to understand options and rights
- Options to help someone with an impairment or disability
- General and limited conservatorships
It also has a step-by-step guide to limited conservatorships.
Find legal and social service resources
Get information about free and low-cost legal resources and government programs that may help.
Help for someone with an impairment or disability
There's a range of options to help someone
Everyone needs help sometimes. Some people, including people with disabilities or impairments, may need more help than others. Sometimes a person has trouble
- Providing for their personal needs
- Managing their money
- Making important decisions by themselves
There are many ways that a person, or others who love and support the person, can get the help they need. Most of them don’t require asking a court to appoint another person to act or make decisions for the person who needs help (called a conservatorship).
Definitions you need to know to understand options
These terms can help you understand the type of help that may be best for the person's needs.
Function: a specific act or activity that a person does or cannot do.
Impairment: a loss of function; any disorder or condition affecting one or more mind or body systems.
Disability: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one more major life activities.
A person can have an impairment without having a disability. A person with a disability can have a wide range of impairments going from minor impairments to more severe ones. Additionally, a person with an impairment or disability will have some functions that they can perform and some they cannot. This is important when considering what type of help is appropriate. Because of the range of needs, there are as many ways to help as there are people that need that help.
You must explore all the options to help before going to court
Although this Guide deals with conservatorships primarily, a judge will only grant a conservatorship if no less restrictive alternative is appropriate. It is important to remember that there may be other less restrictive options for you or your loved one that should be considered first.
The guide has information on how to set up a conservatorship, but you must consider other less restrictive options first. The court can't grant a conservatorship unless these options are not appropriate.
Explore other options
Get information for different ways to help someone, for example, Supported Decision Making and Power of Attorney.
Find places to get help
Get information about places where you can get support
Find out about conservatorships
Get information about what a conservatorship is, what a conservator does, and how to start a limited conservatorship.