Serving papers to seniors with dementia is a topic that needs to be approached with caution. There are special considerations that need to be addressed in order for successful serving.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when serving papers to an individual with dementia.
Approach The Individual With Consideration
Alzheimer’s disease is “a progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to learn reason (and) make judgments…” (insert citation). Keeping this in mind, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends using short, simple words and speaking in a non-threatening, low-pitched voice. To see more tips on how to appropriately interact with a person with dementia, please visit http://www.alz.org/national/documents/SafeReturn_lawenforcement.pdf
Many individuals with dementia are more susceptible to financial scams, which can result in a large amount of debt. For those making decisions on behalf of an elderly person, it’s very important to have the individual’s guardian present. According to Larry Yellon of the National Association of Professional Process Servers, “It’s mandatory [in New York] that ‘proposed conservatee’ is the title that they give to the party being served who is probably elderly but more important [the court] will spell out how they have to be served and by what day. This way people can’t come in and start taking their money – legally. Many unscrupulous parties will get mom or dad to sign a power of attorney without this proceeding to take advantage of them.”
Be Aware of Holidays and Sundays
In some facilities, an employee will be present to witness the validity of the service. In most states, you can serve anyone at anytime, but be aware that some states prohibit individuals from being served on Sundays and holidays. Make sure to check your state’s laws before attempting to serve an individual with dementia.
In summary, it’s not ideal to serve an individual with dementia because often times they don’t understand fully what’s going on. Click here for a full list of laws and regulations for process serving in Arizona.