On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved Senate Bill (SB) 139 authored by Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson). SB 139 would combine two programs: volunteer advocates for seniors and volunteer advocates for incapacitated adults into one joint program. The newly titled program, Volunteer Advocates for Seniors or Incapacitated Adults (VASIA), would require volunteers of the court to participate in professional training in order to serve as court-appointed guardians. Additionally, SB 139 would require VASIA’s progress report to include a person-centered care plan.

“My bill will enhance the professionalism of adult guardianship services as well as ensure all individuals who require these services have access to them,” Sen. Lanane said. “The population of Hoosiers aged 65 or older is expected to double in the next 15-20 years, with seniors outnumbering children under the age of 15 by 2035. As Indiana’s senior population increases, the number of Hoosiers who seek guardianship will follow suit. We must be prepared to meet this important need of our state.”

SB 139 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.