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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes similarities and differences among international perspectives on the definition and concept of capacity (i.e. cognitive and functional abilities to complete a specific task or make a specific decision). Because legal standards must be used to guide clinical assessment of capacity, guardianship law is utilized in this chapter as a lens to explore the concept of capacity from various cultural perspectives. The issue of capacity is clearly an important one for those who work with older adults, and recent evolution in guardianship law among nations has increased the importance of specialized and thorough assessment of capacity by clinicians. Therefore, this chapter also discusses empirically supported capacity assessment frameworks and tools. Consideration of multicultural values and preferences as they apply to the assessment of capacity in older adults is also explored.

Keywords: capacity, competency, guardianship, decision-making capacity, functional capacity.

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