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MANSFIELD — Catholic Charities hosted the Ohio Guardianship annual conference Sept. 22 and 23 at the Holiday Inn, Mansfield with approximately 100 people attending.

Carol Wheeler, former Adult Advocacy Services program coordinator at Catholic Charities, received the Distinguished Service Award.

The conference opened with a session on Overcoming Grief and Compassion Fatigue presented by Katherine Hall, LSW - Grief Counselor with Stein Hospice in Sandusky.

The plenary session Thursday featured Dr. Lauren Southerland, Director of Clinical Research and Associate Professor at The Ohio State University Department of Emergency Medicine who presented on how guardians can communicate better with hospital teams.

Breakout sessions included crime victims with disabilities, guardianship of estate, creating welcoming and inclusive environments for LGBTQ, and ethics for guardians. The conference concluded with a panel of mental health professionals.

Catholic Charities Adult Advocacy Services provides guardianship services to enhance the quality of life for adults who have been deemed incompetent by the probate courts, are at least 55 years or older, have a diagnosed incapacity, and lack the support of appropriate family or significant others by advocating on their behalf to protect against abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Of the clients served last year through the program, 95% were indigent, 100% had dementia or some other significant cognitive impairment, and 37% were victimized by a family member. Catholic Charities responds to the needs of the most vulnerable members in our communities by providing services to address the critical gap in services available to the growing population of older adults.

For information on guardianship please contact Sue Warren at Catholic Charities mwarren@toledodiocese.org or 419-524-0733 for more details.

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