The Administrative Office of the Courts has published more than 30 pages of information on its website about issues relating to adult guardianship and conservatorship.
The information is available at http://www.utcourts.gov under the Self-Help Resources heading/Life Planning and Probate/Guardianships and Conservatorships. The website information covers a broad range of topics, including banking, health care decisions, and record keeping decisions as well as community resources.
A guardianship matter is when the court appoints an individual or institution to make decisions on behalf of a person who is incapacitated, while a conservator is appointed to handle the financial affairs for someone who is incapacitated. An individual can be appointed in both roles.
The website addition is another effort by the court to protect an individual's independence despite diminished capacity. In 2011, the Utah Judicial Council established a Court Visitor Volunteer pilot program to protect vulnerable adults from abuse, exploitation, neglect, and self-neglect.
In any given year, there are about 1,500 new adult guardianship and conservatorship petitions filed in Utah. At any given time, there are about 12,000 active cases. These numbers are projected to grow.
Utah's State Plan for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias estimates that the number of Utahns with Alzheimer's disease about 32,000 in 2010 will increase by about one-quarter by 2020, and that by 2025 the number will have increased by 56 percent to about 50,000.
The Alzheimer's Association estimates that Utah has the highest per-capita increase of Alzheimer's disease cases in the country.
The Governor's Office of Planning and Budget estimates that the number of Utahns age 65 and older about 250,000 in the 2010 census will increase by approximately one-third by 2020 and by 2030 the number will more than double.