When your mother or father reaches an age or level of disability where they need regular assistance with their care, you may want to seek guardianship. Elderly guardianship, which you may also hear called elderly conservatorship, is a relationship recognized by the courts that gives an individual the legal power to care for someone who can no longer care for themselves. The appointed guardian has to fulfill certain obligations regarding the elderly person’s care.

The need for a guardian can be common among the elderly. When they can’t handle regular daily tasks, like taking their medications or maintaining their hygiene, then a guardian may become necessary.

Who can become a guardian?

You can petition the court for a guardian if:

  • You are the person who wants to have a guardian put in place.
  • You are a relative or friend of the elderly person.
  • You are the domestic partner or spouse of the elderly person.
  • You are a member of the local or state government.

If you become the guardian of an elderly person, remember that you have a duty of care towards them. That means that you have to put their interests first. You may have to make major decisions about their care, where they live and their finances. You are required to do what’s best for them — not what’s best or most convenient for you.

Your attorney will talk to you more about what that means and if you are in the right position to become a guardian of an elderly loved one. They can also help you take the necessary steps to secure a guardianship.