Assessing Capacity within a Context of Abuse or Neglect

Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 156-169, 2009

15 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2011

See all articles by Margaret Isabel Hall

Margaret Isabel Hall

Thompson Rivers University - Faculty of Law

Martha Donnelly

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Deborah O'Connor

Florida State University - Department of Management

Date Written: December 30, 2009

Abstract

[enIn 2000, with the implementation of Part III of the Adult Guardianship Act: Support and Assistance for Abused and Neglected Adults, British Columbia formally recognized the need to examine issues of decisional capacity of older adults within a context of abuse or neglect. Interestingly, however, although the test of capacity was clearly laid out under this piece of legislation, the potential influence that living in a situation of abuse or neglect may have on how the person makes decisions is not explicitly addressed. Similarly, this is a missing link throughout the literature discussing decisional capacity in older adults. This gap exists despite the fact that determining the "protection” needs of someone who is being abused and/or neglected often hinges directly on that person's decisional capacity. The purpose of this article is to examine the unique aspects associated with assessing and determining capacity for older adults who are living in a situation of abuse or neglect. The specific objectives are to: (a) examine how living in a situation of abuse or neglect may influence the determination of capacity and (b) explore the implications of conducting an assessment within a potentially abusive context. The legal notion of undue influence and the psychological concept of relational connection are introduced as potentially important for considering decision making within this context.

Keywords: aging, abuse, neglect, decision making, capacity, competence

Suggested Citation

Hall, Margaret Isabel and Donnelly, Martha and O'Connor, Deborah, Assessing Capacity within a Context of Abuse or Neglect (December 30, 2009). Journal of Elder Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 156-169, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1732719

Margaret Isabel Hall (Contact Author)

Thompson Rivers University - Faculty of Law ( email )

900 McGill Road
Kamloops, British Columbia
Canada
604 518 3136 (Phone)

Martha Donnelly

University of British Columbia (UBC)

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

Deborah O'Connor

Florida State University - Department of Management ( email )

United States

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