Helping a person with an impairment or disability

This guide has information about 

It also has a step-by-step guide to limited conservatorships.



Find legal and social service resources


Get information about free and low-cost legal resources and government programs that may help.


Get resources



Help for someone with an impairment or disability 

There's a range of options to help someone 

Everyone needs help sometimes. Some people, including people with disabilities or impairments, may need more help than others. Sometimes a person has trouble

  • Providing for their personal needs
  • Managing their money
  • Making important decisions by themselves

There are many ways that a person, or others who love and support the person, can get the help they need. Most of them don’t require asking a court to appoint another person to act or make decisions for the person who needs help (called a conservatorship).

Definitions you need to know to understand options

These terms can help you understand the type of help that may be best for the person's needs.

Function: a specific act or activity that a person does or cannot do.

Impairment: a loss of function; any disorder or condition affecting one or more mind or body systems.

Disability: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one more major life activities.

A person can have an impairment without having a disability. A person with a disability can have a wide range of impairments going from minor impairments to more severe ones. Additionally, a person with an impairment or disability will have some functions that they can perform and some they cannot. This is important when considering what type of help is appropriate. Because of the range of needs, there are as many ways to help as there are people that need that help.

You must explore all the options to help before going to court

Although this Guide deals with conservatorships primarily, a judge will only grant a conservatorship if no less restrictive alternative is appropriate. It is important to remember that there may be other less restrictive options for you or your loved one that should be considered first. 

When your child turns 18, they will have the legal right to make most decisions for themselves. If your child has a developmental disability, and you think they might need help making the transition to living independently, you have options.
success alert banner:

Have a question about Conservatorship?

Look for a "Chat Now" button in the right bottom corner of your screen. If you don’t see it, disable any pop-up/ad blockers on your browser.