As people age, they often begin to experience difficulty thinking clearly and making responsible decisions on their own behalf. This can be overwhelming for their children, who may not know what to do in the event that their parents become incapacitated or infirm. Those who are in this position might want to check out this article on Legal Minefields: The Problems You’ll Face As Your Parents Grow Old.
Guardianship for Incapacitated Seniors
When an adult requires a legal guardian it is most frequently due to infirmity or general old age. The system works in the same way under these circumstances as it does when one becomes the legal guardian of a child. The guardian is responsible for making legal decisions in the best interest of his or her ward.
What Does This Entail?
Responsibilities that are generally left to legal guardians include paying bills, managing their personal property, arranging for medical care and education, and deciding where the person lives. All of these decisions should be made with the best interest of the incapacitated senior, known legally as the guardian’s ward, in mind.
Inability to Live Without Assistance
As parents age, they often become unable to care for themselves in their own homes without assistance, but not all seniors finding themselves in this position are capable of making responsible decisions regarding their living situations. In the event that this is the case, assigning guardianship allows children to place their parents in an assisted living or nursing facility, or to hire nurses for in-home care, as needed. This helps to avoid the possibility of serious physical injury or illness arising from a lack of personal hygiene or other basic care, allowing children to rest easier at night knowing that their parents are being cared for.
Avoid Financial Exploitation
One of the most common reasons for children to decide to take guardianship of their parents is to avoid the possibility of financial exploitation. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous companies and individuals pray on seniors, who may be unable to differentiate between legitimate business practices and money-grabbing scams. In these circumstances, appointing guardianship can help to protect the ward’s financial interests in addition to avoiding potentially serious health issues.