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When should you set up a guardianship for an aging parent?

Seeing a parent age and become less able to care for themselves is always a challenging prospect. You want what’s best for them and their health, so when they’re unable to make the necessary decisions for caring for themselves, you may decide it’s time for them to give you guardianship so that you can better manage their lives.

Making a plan for the aging

Often, a family member does not want to admit that they need help. You may find that in addition to this, other family members may share in that denial. It’s a hard truth to accept that you are declining in health. When a person allows their son or daughter to have guardianship over them, they are giving up some of their individual rights, which can make a person susceptible to abuse. Here are some of the scenarios that could make your decision to pursue guardianship of an aging parent more clear:

  • If that person is endangering themselves or others: For people with dementia or other degenerative cognitive illnesses, there may be all manners of hazards in the home. Ovens and stovetops are a common risk, where the elderly may leave stovetops on, creating a fire hazard. They may have trouble distinguishing between locations, objects, food, with clear implications for vehicle use.
  • If that person cannot person basic self-care: These concerns can involve questions of hygiene if a person is unable or unwilling to clean clothes, their home and bath regularly. For many older people, medication plays a considerable role in self-care. If they can’t remember to take their medication or take too much of their medicine thinking they hadn’t yet, this can pose a risk to their immediate health.
  • If a person cannot manage their finances: The main concerns for an elderly person’s finances entail timely rent or mortgage payments, filing tax returns, cashing social security checks, keeping up doctor’s bills, home repairs, and utility bills. You don’t want your relative penalized when they don’t have the attentiveness necessary to perform these tasks.

Continuing care for your loved ones

Guardianship is much easier when a relative agrees that they need help. More often though, they are reluctant and do not want your help. The process of receiving guardianship over a relative can be a long process with many legal obstacles and court intervention. If you feel you need to be your aging parent’s guardian, you need to contact a lawyer who specializes in elder law and legal guardianship.