When guardianships make it into the news, it is almost always because of something bad. A celebrity’s family member misuse their authority for personal gain, for example.
However, for each rare situation involving the misuse of guardianship, there are probably multiple guardianships that serve their purpose to protect vulnerable older adults without drawing any public attention.
Seeking guardianship when someone struggles to care for themselves independently provides family members with peace of mind. It also directly benefits the older adult subject to the guardianship.
Someone else is responsible for overseeing their daily lives
Someone struggling to stay organized or remember what day of the week it is could fail to pay their bills on time or run out of groceries. When there is a guardianship in place, there is another adult with the ultimate responsibility to make sure that an adult in a vulnerable position has all of their basic needs met. A guardian can help handle bills and ensure that someone has the clothing and food they need.
There is less risk of medical complications due to non-compliance
Older adults struggling with cognitive decline may not remember to make appointments or attend ones they have already scheduled. Confusion could lead to them missing important treatments or making questionable choices about their own medical care.
In fact, they may avoid seeking basic care because they worry that a doctor will raise questions about their ability to live independently. An older adult avoiding the doctor could inadvertently harm themselves by failing to get care they need. A guardian that has medical decision-making authority can ensure that an older adult gets the treatment they need.
There is help with managing finances or providing support
Guardians have to manage financial matters for the vulnerable adults in their care. Ensuring that bills get paid and also that someone properly manages their assets are both responsibilities that a guardian should fulfill.
A guardian also has a financial obligation to the person in their care. If the older adult completely runs out of assets or resources, they should be able to count on their guardian for direct financial support. At the very least, a guardian should help them connect with state programs that can cover some of their costs.
Pursuing a guardianship can help ensure that your loved one has the support they need to enjoy their golden years in comfort and good health.