Why is supported decision making so important? David’s Story

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Why is supported decision making so important? David’s Story

David has a job, a place to call home and a social life that revolves around sport and church. He values his independence and his family and friends. He felt happy to welcome a potential new friend – James - another regular morning coffee buyer who frequented a café close to David’s work.

Over a period of weeks David and James chatted while waiting for their orders. They laughed about the ‘coincidence’ of arriving at the same time so often. David thought James must really want to be friends, because James wanted to know all about him – asking all kinds of questions.

One day James told David that he was in difficult situation. Following a disagreement his flatmate had locked him out of their house. He had found a new flat and planned to buy furniture using a loan from a major retailer. When he tried to sign the loan documents, he found the identification he needed was locked in his old house.

He asked David to help. Could he sign the loan documents on James’ behalf? James told David that “you know me! You know you can trust me.” David thought he could trust James, but he also worried that signing a loan on someone else’s behalf was wrong. James assured him that ‘everyone does it!’ David did not know how to say no, so he signed the documents and hoped James would pay off the debt before his mum found out.

James stopped buying his morning coffee just before David starting receiving phone calls from debt collectors. On top of the loan James had used David’s personal information to get more credit. David found himself with a collective debt of more than $18 000.

David worked with an advocate to contact the police and negotiate with creditors. His family thought that perhaps he might need a financial trustee, but David did not want to lose his independence. Instead he sought out support for decision making.

With his decision supporter David has been able to develop new skills and strategies to make him less vulnerable in the future, without losing his right to decide. David is learning to recognise when trust is due, how to protect his privacy, to explore options and to think about and manage risks. He is learning to weigh up decisions, and to ensure that his decisions are heard.

David is learning and using these skills with his friend Wilson, who has agreed to be his decision supporter. David and Wilson have created a supported decision making agreement. This is a document that says that David will not make significant financial decisions without first talking it over with Wilson.

Find Out More

Adacas provides help and support to people with disabilities, the elderly and their carers.

Advocacy is about helping a person to be heard in the decisions that affect their life. Advocacy aims to increase a person’s control over goods, services and quality of life

Find out where we are or send an enquiry online so one of our staff can contact you directly.

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