We recently received a call from the County Office of Aging concerning an 85 year old woman who needed a guardian appointed because of increased problems with dementia and other health issues. This woman anticipated that her stepson would provide her with support under these situations and if not him, her sister would help. As it turns out, the stepson is reluctant to take responsibility for his stepmother, and the sister because of her own health issues is unable to. The Arc has stepped up and accepted guardianship for this woman, but now we are in the difficult position of trying to make decisions for her without having any history or relationship with her. As guardians our first obligation is to make choices for the person that they would have made if they were still competent. Because this woman did not have concrete plans for what to happen in these situations, we know little about what her preferences would be as far as what to do with her assets and does she want Do not Resuscitate order. She did have a burial plan, but this is not the norm. As a non profit agency, we will support her through this process, but it would have been incredibly easier to support her if we could have met her before she became incompetent, and if she would have had listed her preferences concerning the delivery of health services and had a Living Will and a Will to determine what should happen to assist us in making decisions on her life issues. This incident has been a strong reminder to me the need for individuals to plan early, particularly individuals who have a child with a disability, because not only do you have to plan for yourself but you have to plan for your child. If you would like assistance in planning, contact The Arc Alliance.