Watching your parents age and lose their independence can be quite difficult. However, this is inevitable with age. If your parent is no longer able to care for themselves due to age-related complications or incapacitation, you may need to petition the court to designate a legal guardian for them.
Heading to court to obtain legal guardianship for your aging parent can be a tough decision to make. However, it is often the right thing to do under certain circumstances. So how do you know it is time to get a guardian for your aging folks?
Here are three questions that can help you make this decision.
Has their decision-making ability been compromised?
For the court to award guardianship, it will need proof of incapacitation. That is, your parent must have difficulty making sound decisions regarding their safety, health and property. If your parent has been diagnosed with a degenerative condition like Alzheimer’s disease, then you need to cite this while petitioning for guardianship.
Have you noticed evidence of undue influence?
As your parents age and lose their vigor, they might need a helping hand to take care of certain things. Unfortunately, someone with sinister motivations may take advantage of your folk’s failing health or memory to unduly influence them into rewriting their will in a manner that favors them. Some of the signs of undue influence you need to look out for include:
- Your parent’s unexplained withdrawal from their natural support system (family and friends)
- Your parent’s over-dependence on the caregiver
- The caregiver’s unrestricted access to your parent’s finances
Are there disagreements over your parent’s medical care?
Your parents have the right to make their own healthcare decisions. However, thanks to aging and medical conditions like dementia, they might lose the ability to make sound medical decisions. If your parent is forgetting to take their vitamins or other medications, or if they are refusing to move to a care facility, then you should consider pursuing guardianship for them.
Even though you may not want to, obtaining guardianship for your aging parent may turn out to be in the best interests of everyone.