The many responsibilities as guardian of an elderly parent

by | Jan 5, 2021 | Elder Law |

It remains a decision that you and your family have struggled with and pondered for a few months. What to do about your father, who is losing his memory and shows signs of dementia. The other day, he planned to drive to your house to see his grandchildren. However, he got lost and was located hours later after you contacted authorities.

You realize that the time has come for you or another responsible family member to become the guardian of your elderly and declining father. With his decision-making skills in question, you understand that this will be, in a way, a role reversal. He cared and provided for you when you were a child, now it is your turn. As a guardian, there are many responsibilities. And with some inner strength, determination and insight, you can take on this role, which will have many duties.

Proper care, medical decisions, financial needs

In most situations when an adult child becomes a guardian for a parent, it has come down to the fact that the parent can no longer care for himself or herself. They likely cannot live on their own, drive their cars, go shopping for groceries and even walk in their neighborhoods without getting lost.

Roughly 1.3 million adults are under guardianship in the U.S. Of that amount, as many as 85% of them are older than 65. In your role as guardian, you must accept and take on many responsibilities that include:

  • Ensuring proper care and support are provided for your parent.
  • Providing food, shelter, clothing and many other day-to-day living necessities.
  • Approving all medical, dental and psychological care recommended for your parent.
  • Overseeing financial accounts, including banking, investments and retirement funds. This includes paying any outstanding bills and attending to all financial needs.

As a guardian, you have the legal authority to make decisions for your parent. The court has appointed you, and you accept the responsibilities that come with this role. There are many others serving as guardians for their elderly parents, so you are not alone. This is a new life challenge in which you will succeed.