As your parents age, you might find yourself worrying about them more often. Although you might be concerned about whether they have an estate plan in place and how their assets will be distributed when the time comes, you might also be worried about how they’re going to take care of themselves as they get older.
The latter can become especially concerning when your parents demonstrate signs that they’re unable to make rational decisions, but for many it’s hard to tell when a parent has crossed the line into being unable to make decisions and care for themselves.
What are you to do in these situations? One option is to seek conservatorship over your parent. If you’re successful in doing so, then you’ll be responsible for making decisions for your parent. This can lift a burden from your shoulders, knowing that your parent is in good hands.
How can you tell if it’s time to seek conservatorship?
It can be difficult to decide when it might be time to pursue conservatorship over a parent. However, there might be some key signs that trigger action. This includes each of the following:
- Forgetfulness: Most of us are going to experience some degree of forgetfulness as we get older, but if your parent starts forgetting major duties on a regular basis, then you might want to consider whether it’s time to seek conservatorship. For example, if your parent continues to forget to take their medicine or pay their bills, then a conservatorship might be in their best interests to ensure that they’re adequately cared for.
- Mobility issues: If your parent’s physical health declines to the point that they struggle to move, then they might need additional assistance to ensure that their needs are met. You might be able to provide that additional support through a conservatorship.
- They’re being taken advantage of: Given that an elderly individual’s decision-making capacity can diminish over time, they can easily be taken advantage of by scammers and others looking to make a quick buck. If you notice that your parent’s bank account is dwindling unexpectedly or they’ve made a new “friend” who seems to be spending a lot of time with your parent, then you should take a closer look. If you see suspicious activities, then you should consider pursuing a conservatorship to protect your loved one’s finances.
- Disagreement over medical care: If your parent develops a medical condition, they may be unwilling to seek out the treatment that they need. While they certainly have that right, it might quickly become apparent that those decisions aren’t in their best interests. When this happens, you might need to make the difficult decision to seek a conservatorship so that you can force your parent to receive the care that they need.
- Hesitancy to seek long-term care: Once it becomes apparent that your parent can’t take care of themself, a move into a nursing home or other long-term care facility may be necessary. If your loved one opposes that move, though, then you might need to take action to put a conservatorship in place. That way you can ensure that they’re placed where they need to be to receive necessary care.
Do you want to learn more about the conservatorship process?
If so, then you should continue to read up on what a conservatorship might look like in your set of circumstances. By researching this issue, you can also inform yourself about what the process looks like and what you need to do to protect your loved one. But you don’t want to wait too long. If you do, then you might be unnecessarily leaving your loved one at risk.