Adult children of aging parents often experience a variety of emotions when they realize their mothers or fathers can no longer care for themselves, especially when an Alzheimer’s diagnosis confirms cognitive problems may not improve. Alzheimers.net notes that seeking legal guardianship of an elderly parent suffering from Alzheimer’s can authorize you to make decisions on that individual’s behalf, which may streamline choices related to medical care and financial issues.
Individuals seeking guardianship of this type must take several legal steps before they can receive power of attorney and attempt to maintain an elderly parent’s quality of life.
The benefits of guardianship
Elderly parents who suffer from Alzheimer’s usually experience a decline in memory and other cognitive functions that can affect their overall health. They may suffer from lapses in hygiene and suffer from poor nutrition when they can no longer cook for themselves. Seeking guardianship has several benefits for both the elderly parent and the adult offspring seeking guardianship, including:
- Improved nutrition/meal program placement
- Improved health through assistance with hygiene/dressing
- The ability of the elderly parent to age with dignity
Legal guardianship also gives adult children the opportunity to direct care for comparative elderly parents who may believe they do not require such assistance, despite evidence to the contrary.
Steps to guardianship
Once an elderly parent’s family receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for that individual, the next step takes place in court, where the adult child seeking guardianship must prove his or her parent can no longer make sound decisions or perform daily tasks that support good health. The petitioner must also prove that he or she has the capacity to act in the best interests of the person suffering from cognitive decline.
Putting a legal guardian in place as soon as possible for an elderly person suffering from Alzheimer’s can prevent ill health and exploitation from individuals or companies that may take advantage when no one is there to offer protection or guidance.