As your parents get older, you may realize that they are more forgetful. This can manifest itself in subtle ways at first, such as forgetting to close the garage door, repeating stories, or not knowing what day of the week it is. These memory lapses may intensify over the years, and what begins as “senior moments” can quickly turn into dementia, a condition serious enough to cause real harm if the individual is not properly cared for. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s and dementia are common with one in 10 people over the age of 65 diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. You can potentially help your parents by implementing guardianship to take care of their most basic needs. Here is what you need to know about parent guardianship.
Having a Conversation About Additional Help or Care With Your Parent
It can be very difficult to have conversations about memory loss and caretaking issues with your elderly parents. Not only is it embarrassing for your parents, but up until now they, at least in their mind, have been your caretakers, not the other way around. They raised and cared for you their entire lives, and now the roles have suddenly been reversed somehow. As their situation intensifies, they may forget to pay bills or their health begins to deteriorate due to lack of self care, and you may find that it is time for you to step in. An elder law attorney can can assist you with the guardianship process.
When a Power of Attorney is Not Enough
By creating a power of attorney, you would be able to sign checks for your elderly parents in order to ensure that bills are paid on time. A power of attorney can also be used to make serious medical decisions for your parent or parents. However, your parents may need more assistance, or they may refuse to authorize a power of attorney, leaving you with one option: guardianship.
What is Guardianship?
Guardianship is granted and a Guardian is appointed by the court when an individual is deemed unfit to make financial or medical decisions for themselves due to a disability or incapacitation. A legal guardian is appointed to make these decisions for them (the ward). Petitioning the court for guardianship may be your best option for ensuring that your parents get the care they need and ensure their finances are properly handled. The following are four signs that your parents may benefit from a guardianship, according to Forbes.
Refusal to Go To a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility
If your mom or dad is unable to care for themselves or each other, they may need to consider going to an assisted living facility or nursing home. In this case, the only way to ensure that they get the help needed is to petition the court for guardianship.
Even if you have health care power of attorney, also called a health care proxy, you may still need guardianship to make certain medical or financial decisions for your parent.
If Investments or Real Property Must Be Sold
In order to pay for living expenses, nursing home care, or medical treatments, real property or investments may need to be sold, in which case a guardianship may be necessary. Selling a house is a big job, a task that your parents may not be able to do themselves.
The court can offer limited guardianship in some cases, when it is clear that the ward has some decision making comprehension, but not in all circumstances. As such, the court may allow guardianship authority in some areas, but not all.
Call a Maryland Guardianship Attorney Today
Petitioning the court for guardianship can be a complicated, strenuous process, especially if you undertake this legal process, without an attorney. At Frame & Frame, we understand the sensitivity of these situations and can provide compassionate, sound guidance to assist you through this process. Contact the experienced Maryland lawyers at Frame & Frame today or schedule a private consultation. YWe have been providing legal guidance to members of our community for over 65 years.