I am a NY lawyer. The nursing home would only become a legal guardian in a proceeding on notice to a spouse. However, since they were "seperated" for 12 years, if the the home petitioned for guardianship, it may not know about the spouse. If the spouse is doing this solely so she will not will be finacially liable, there are other ways of dealing with this issue. If she is doing this to move on with her life, etc., this is a different story. Only a person who is legally competent can sign the papers for an uncontested divorce. I only mention this becuase you inquired about persuading the person.
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