One of the most difficult things for an adult child to do is to decide that a parent is no longer able to safely care for himself/herself. No matter how old you are, you still view your parent as precisely that – your parent – and you are the child. At some point in your life, however, those roles may begin to reverse, causing you to become the caregiver. If the situation deteriorates enough you may need to seek legal guardianship over your parent to ensure your parent’s physical, mental, and financial safety and security. This, of course, prompts the question “ How do I know when my parent needs a guardianship? ”
Like many adult children you may be taking care of your parent, to some extent, already. This may include anything from stopping by his/her house once a week to check how things are going to moving your parent in to your home full-time so that you can provide more assistance and keep a closer eye on things. If your parent is suffering from Alzheimer’s, or another old age related dementia disease, your level of involvement in his/her care will only increase. To be effective as a caregiver, however, you may need the legal authority that only a guardianship can provide. As your parent’s guardian you may be able to do things such as decide where your parent lives, choose what doctor he/she treats with and monitor medications. You may also be given authority over the estate of your parent, allowing you to manage your parent’s assets and monitor his/her finances.
While each situation is unique, there are some common signs that typically point to the need for a guardian. Those signs include, but are not limited to:
Increased injuries – falls, bumps, and bruises that occur more frequently and/or cannot be adequately explained.
Unkempt appearance — not bathing, lack of interest in appearance.
Forgetting things – increased memory loss and/or forgetting important things that should not be forgotten.
Disappearing money/assets – money missing from accounts, items missing from the house, or unexplained purchases.
Mood swings – aging can cause depression or changes in mood; however, if the changes are erratic, excessive or very rapid it may be more than normal aging.
All of these signs point to the need for more than just an occasional caregiver. Ultimately they may point to the need for a guardian. If you are concerned that a guardianship may be needed for your parent, contact the experienced Missouri estate planning attorneys at Amen, Gantner & Capriano, Your Estate Matters, LLC by calling (314) 966-8077 to schedule an appointment.