Asking the court to give you control of your mother’s or father’s life is a big step to take — and nobody should pursue a guardianship over another adult unless they’re ready for the responsibility. Guardianship will give you court-ordered authority to make decisions regarding your parent’s living situation, medical care and finances — but how do you know it’s time to take that step?
Here are some signs that your parent is no longer able to handle his or her own affairs:
- You can tell that they no longer understand who they should trust. Maybe your parent has an official diagnosis of dementia or maybe they’ve simply been in mental decline for a long time. Either way, you don’t want someone to take advantage of them financially.
- Your parent is no longer able to live alone and refuses to go into assisted living or a nursing home. Leaving your parent to stubbornly fend for him- or herself once that happens wouldn’t be conscionable.
- Your parent is no longer able to manage their assets. If property taxes are going unpaid and the utilities are getting shut off even though there’s money in the bank, that’s a sign that your parent needs someone to intervene.
- Your parent’s health is declining because he or she won’t visit the doctor, take prescription medications or is otherwise unable to care for his or her own needs.
It’s often painful to watch old age sap a parent’s vitality and intellect, but it happens. If you’re concerned about your mother or father’s well-being and you think it may be time to petition for guardianship over them, find out what steps you need to take next.