Caregiving Across State Lines: 45+ States Pass Law to Help

Imagine you care for your 90-year-old mother with dementia. She lives with you in your Georgia home. You help her with bathing and dressing, drive her to the doctor, cook her meals, manage her medications and do anything else she needs. Last year you were appointed her legal guardian by the state of Georgia to help manage her finances and make decisions for her about health care and more.

Your mother needs a special heart procedure, only available in a hospital in Florida, meaning you’ll have to cross state lines. The problem is, the Florida hospital may not accept guardianship orders from other states and is unable to treat your mother without authority from a Florida court. Now, as your mother’s health deteriorates, you have to desperately file for an expensive legal proceeding just so your mother can get the care she needs.

For some caregivers, the possibility of this hypothetical life-threatening situation is very real.

While every caregiving situation is different, many Americans care for their loved ones across state lines every day — and the law should be on their side, with consistent rules about state jurisdiction to make it easier.

The good news is, 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have already passed the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdictions Act (UAGPPJA), a law to support family caregivers serving as guardians as they care for their parents, spouses and other loved ones across state lines. This includes Georgia, Louisiana and North Carolina, where this important act was signed into law in 2016.

This law ensures scenarios like the one I outlined don’t happen, and provide more protections, by:


  1. Outlining a set of rules for streamlining the transfer of guardianship from one state to another
  2. Allowing states to recognize and register guardianship orders from other states
  3. Creating a clear process for determining jurisdiction by designating which state should hear a request for guardianship when more than one state is involved
  4. Protecting seniors by giving the court information and authority to act on abuse and exploitation


UAGPPJA

AARP will continue to fight for adult guardianship reforms so that family caregivers and their loved ones — across the U.S. — have one less challenge to face.


Elaine Ryan is the vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration (SASI) for AARP. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff members who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with governors and state legislators, helping people 50-plus attain and maintain their health and financial security.

Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.  That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.