When your parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is reasonable to expect that sometime in the near future, it may be necessary to obtain guardianship and make important decisions for them. Sadly, the average person will only live four to eight years after being diagnosed with the disease and one out of every nine people in the United States over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s. By developing a care plan and starting the process of becoming your parent’s legal guardian as early as possible, you can comply with their wishes later on, when they may lack the mental ability to make informed decisions.
#1-Know What Situations Are Appropriate For Legal Guardianship Of A Parent
It is important to note that obtaining guardianship over a parent is not always the best or only choice. In general, it will be helpful if there is not already a person selected to make their decisions. A power of attorney is a popular way to avoid the need for legal guardianship because most of the responsibilities of the two are identical and fair.
It could be another family member, a trusted friend or even a lawyer. If that person was selected by your parent when they were able to make informed decisions and there is no reason to believe that the person with the power of attorney will negatively impact your parent’s life, it might not be necessary to ask for guardianship.
#2-Guardianship Allows You To Take On A Parental Role For Your Own Parent
It is first necessary to remember that because Alzheimer’s patients suffer from memory loss and dementia, one day in the future, they will not be able to reliably take care of themselves. Therefore, as the legal guardian, you will eventually need to need to make decisions for them, provide supervision and meet their physical, emotional, safety and health needs, just as you would for your children.
#3-Guardianship Is A Permanent And Legally Binding Decision
You will usually be expected to prove that you will be financially responsible for your parent and final decisions about guardianship will need to be approved by the judge. Although guardianship is a permanent and binding decision, you could petition the court to make changes to the agreement in the future, if the circumstances change.
You will need to prove to the court that guardianship over your parent is in their best interests and that their physician agrees. Assuming that everything has met with the court’s requirements, your mom or dad will be declared incompetent to make their own decisions and doing so becomes your responsibility.
In conclusion, when you first learn that one of your parents has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is time to speak with your mom or dad about becoming their legal guardian. By doing so now, you can provide them with the supervision and assistance with personal matters that Alzheimer’s patients need as the disease progresses. Consult a law firm, such as J. Scott Braden, for more information and help with the process.