March 2, 2022

guardianship for aging parents

Continuum offers information about guardianship for aging parents to help families make the best decisions for their loved ones.

In a perfect world, our family relationships would all be positive and helpful. We would manage transitional times smoothly, cooperatively, and without any disagreement. As our parents grew older, it would be a simple process to meet their current needs and their needs in the future.

The truth, however, is that being an adult child to older adults can be tumultuous. It is not easy to discern when to step in and assist, and when to take a step back so as to not step on your parents’ toes. And, there might be situations when your efforts to help are met with resistance – while you know that help will become necessary for their protection and safety.

A great first step is to ensure the senior has designated both a power of attorney and medical power of attorney. The individual or individuals trusted with these roles will have the authority to make financial and health-related decisions on behalf of the senior if he or she were to become unable to do so.

However, even if you are the designated power of attorney/medical power of attorney for a senior parent, you might want to consider going a step further and petitioning for guardianship. This might be worth exploring if:

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

There is also the possibility for limited guardianship, if the older adult is capable of retaining control in certain areas of life, while other areas are compromised.

How to File for Guardianship

  • First, schedule a consultation with the older adult’s health care professional, who will need to determine if guardianship is necessary and complete a form attesting to the senior’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 monetary responsibilities, and investigate whether there are any conflicts of interest.
  • You are then legally obliged to notify both the senior and family members (as specified within the estate code) of your intent to acquire guardianship.
  • Finally, the court will designate a lawyer to represent the older adult, and a decision will be made to determine what is in his/her best interest.

At Continuum, a trusted provider of dementia home care in St. Louis, MO and surrounding communities, we are here to help ensure all the needs of your aging parents are met. Contact us at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 to find out more.