It’s a sad truth that many of us will face one day. Determining if, and when, your parent needs a guardianship. The guardianship is sometimes put into place to protect the senior from inadvertently harming themselves. Forgetting the small things may seem small to the elderly but often pose a serious risk. As the population continues to age, “the graying of America,” dementia is becoming increasingly common. Guardianship is a serious step involving taking away a person’s fundamental rights, but when dementia robs a person’s ability to understand the consequences of their choices, then intervention may be required. Fortunately, a range of options are available from power of attorney, supportive decision making, conservatorship, and guardianship. It is a good idea to seek guidance from an elder law attorney to know what options are appropriate for your family’s situation.
Here are a few signs to watch for that signal that your parent may need help.
Many of us depend on daily medications to live a complete and healthy life. Whether you take blood pressure medication, cholesterol controlling medication or a narcotic for pain, maintaining proper dosages are important. If your loved one is struggling to maintain their medication schedule, they could be in real danger. A recent article focusing on the importance of correctly taking medications pointed out that, “four out of 10 older people who take more than one drug still do not take one or more of their prescriptions according to their doctor’s instructions.“ If you feel your loved one is not taking their medicine as prescribed, they may need a guardian to help them.
Lacking Personal Hygiene
Changes in personal hygiene may be a sign of bigger issues. Depression is very common among the aged and could be triggering the change in hygiene. However, it could also indicate even greater issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. The senior community also faces limited mobility in many cases, making it more difficult to properly clean themselves. Regardless of the cause, a noticeable change in personal hygiene should raise a flag to those around them that a senior may need help.
Mismanaging Personal Finances
Scam artists often target the elderly community because they believe they have disposable income that may be easier to acquire than their younger counterparts. Unfortunately, not all scam artists are strangers to their victims. According to an article from the National Council on Aging, “Over 90% of all reported elder abuse is committed by an older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others.” It can be difficult to know who to trust. Financial scams apply to seniors that are “well off” and those on fixed incomes. Protecting their finances would be another good reason to setup a conservatorship.
If you have any questions about guardianships, conservatorships or other protective measures concerning the elderly, feel free to call McCool Law today at 208-963-8100.