What to Know If Applying for Guardianship of an Elderly Parent

adult child with senior mother

Applying for guardianship of an elderly parent can provide peace of mind.

In an ideal world, our family interactions would all be positive and helpful. We would handle transitional times cooperatively, smoothly, and with virtually no disagreement. As our parents grew older, it would be a simple process to satisfy their needs today and their needs in the future.

The reality, however, is that being an adult child to aging parents can be tumultuous. It is difficult to identify when you should step up and assist, and when to step back so as to not step on your parents’ toes. And, there might be occasions when your efforts to help are met with resistance – even though you recognize that help is necessary for their safety and protection.

An excellent initial step is to make sure the senior has designated both a medical power of attorney and power of attorney. The person or persons trusted with these roles will have the authority to make financial and health-related decisions on the part of the senior if she or he were to become unable to do so.

Nevertheless, even though you are the designated power of attorney/medical power of attorney, you might want to consider going one step further and applying for guardianship of an elderly parent. This might be well worth exploring if:

  • The senior’s home or any other property needs to be sold
  • Medical intervention is necessary
  • Dementia or any other cognitive function limitations are impacting the person’s decision-making ability

There is the option for limited guardianship, in the event that the senior is capable of retaining control in some facets of life, while other areas are compromised.

Simple Tips to Apply For Guardianship
  • First, schedule an appointment with the older adult’s physician, who will need to determine if guardianship is necessary and complete a form attesting to the older adult’s mental and physical functioning.
  • You can then file for guardianship at a probate court. The court will run a criminal background check, assess your financial responsibilities, and explore whether there are any conflicts of interest.
  • You are then legally bound to notify both the senior and family members (as outlined within the estate code) of your intent to obtain guardianship.
  • Lastly, the court will appoint a lawyer to represent the senior, and a determination will be made to identify what is in his/her best interest.

At CareWorks Health Services, we are here to help ensure all of the needs of your aging parents are met. Reach out to us at (949) 859-4700 for additional information about our award-winning home and dementia care in Newport Beach, CA and surrounding communities.