In re Guardianship of Waters
Ohio Court of Appeals
2013 Ohio App. LEXIS 4323 (2013)
Julia Waters (defendant) rented an apartment in an independent-living facility and lived there for five years. During that time, Waters broke her wrist but refused physical therapy for it. Waters also repeatedly refused to take her prescription medications. Waters left food trash and clutter throughout the apartment and was known to sleep on the floor, but she refused the help offered by an elderly-services organization. When Waters broke a hip, she ignored it for several days before finally seeking medical attention. After being hospitalized for the broken hip, Waters was transferred to an assisted-living facility for follow-up care. Waters refused the physical therapy and psychiatric care offered by the assisted-living facility. Waters wanted to return to her apartment and continued to pay rent on it. However, a proceeding was initiated to determine whether Waters needed a guardian to manage her personal care. Waters claimed that (1) she could dress and feed herself, (2) her prior refusals to accept medical care or assistance were due to stubbornness rather than incompetence or incapacity, and (3) her relatives had conspired to make her apartment appear messy. A doctor evaluated Waters and provided an expert opinion that Waters was (1) physically impaired; (2) suffering from psychosis, dementia, and paranoia; and (3) unable to care for herself. A court investigator also found that Waters was unable to prepare her own food, handle her own finances, drive, or manage her many medications. The doctor and investigator each concluded that Waters was unable to properly care for herself and that a guardian was appropriate. Staff members at the assisted-living facility provided testimony that corroborated these opinions. Further, the trial court found that Waters’s own testimony was sometimes incomprehensible, often not responsive to the question asked, and generally consistent with paranoia and poor mental health. The trial court then ruled that Waters was incompetent and appointed two coguardians for Waters’s personal care. Waters appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Fain, J.)
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