If you’re an adult child with a parent who has dementia, then knowing how to get guardianship of a parent with dementia can be very valuable.
Dementia is a memory loss disease that worsens over time. Individuals with dementia often start out with minor symptoms, like short-term memory loss and forgetfulness.
However, the middle and late stages of dementia can come with more severe symptoms. It’s not uncommon for someone with middle- or late-stage dementia to start losing their ability to think, act, or make rational decisions on their own. It’s at this point that getting guardianship for adults with dementia can become a top priority.
So, what is guardianship in aged care? What does guardianship over a parent mean?
If you have a parent with dementia who’s declining in health and you want to ensure that they continue to get the care they need, then you’ll want to learn how to become a guardian to an elderly parent.
In this article, we’re providing you with information regarding getting guardianship over a parent. We’ll share with you:
- How to apply for guardianship
- What the process entails
- Other helpful dementia care resources
Keep reading to learn how to become your parent’s guardian.
What Is Guardianship for Adults with Dementia?
As dementia progresses, it can severely affect your loved one’s ability to:
- Care for themself
- Perform tasks in their daily life safely
- Make prudent, rational decisions
If this describes your loved one, then getting guardianship of a parent with dementia may be the best course of action.
So, what is guardianship in aged care?
Like Power of Attorney (POA) or Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA), guardianship for a parent with dementia allows you to make decisions on behalf of your loved one. Becoming your parents’ guardian can ensure that your loved one gets the care they need as they age and is also safe from financial, physical, and emotional abuse.
But unlike POA and MPOA, getting guardianship over a parent is a legal matter that must be decided by a court. Becoming your parents’ legal guardian requires that you fill out an application and are deemed suitable to care for your loved one.
Now that you know a little more about guardianship itself, let’s look at the practical side of how to become a guardian of an elderly parent with dementia.
How to Get Guardianship of a Parent with Dementia
As we mentioned above, getting guardianship over a parent with dementia is a legal matter that requires a court ruling. Here’s how to apply for guardianship:
- File legal forms for guardianship
- Tell your loved one and other family members of the petition for guardianship
- Submit a physicians statement for guardianship
- Pass the court’s procedures/assessments
- Be awarded guardianship
Let’s take a look at these five steps in more detail.
1. File Legal Forms for Guardianship
The first thing that you’ll need to do is fill out the correct forms for guardianship and then file them with the proper court in your area/state.
Each state may have its own set of forms, so you’ll want to find out which forms your state requires when applying for guardianship for adults with dementia.
2. Tell Your Family of the Petition for Guardianship
Once you’ve filled out and filed the correct forms, the next step for getting guardianship over a parent is to tell (also called “serve”) your parents and other family members about your petition for guardianship.
The court won’t tell your family members for you, so it’s up to you to connect with them. If you don’t “serve” all the necessary individuals, then your hearing for guardianship will be canceled.
3. Submit a Physicians Statement for Guardianship
Step three is to submit a physician’s statement for guardianship. This statement is provided by a trained and licensed physician who attests to your parent’s physical and mental abilities.
Ideally, your parent will voluntarily agree to this medical assessment. However, if your parent won’t willingly submit to a meeting with a doctor, the court can order your loved one to get an examination and will also provide a physician to do it.
4. Pass the Court’s Procedures/Assessments
At this point, you should have finished:
- Filing for guardianship in a court
- Telling your parents and family members that you’re filing for guardianship
- Submitting a physician statement for your parents
If you have, then the court will dive deeper into the guardianship process to determine whether:
- Your parent truly is in need of a guardian
- You’re genuinely fit to handle guardianship duties
The court may appoint what’s called a “Guardian Ad Litem” to investigate these two points. Their job is to observe you and your parents and determine what’s best for your parents, regardless of what your parent may personally want.
5. Be Awarded Guardianship
If the Guardian Ad Litem reports to the court that your parents could benefit from you becoming their guardian, then you’ll be awarded guardianship of your parent with dementia.
Once you’re named your parent’s official guardian, you’ll be tasked with caring for them and acting in their best interest physically, financially, etc. You have full, legal power to make any and all decisions on your parent’s behalf.
Need Help With the Guardianship Process for Elderly Adults with Dementia?
Getting guardianship over a parent is a legal process that gives you full responsibility to make medical, financial, and other life decisions for your parents.
For those seeking guardianship of a parent with dementia, this is how to apply for guardianship:
- File legal documents for guardianship with a court
- Tell your parent and other family members that you applied for guardianship
- Submit a physicians statement
- Pass the court’s procedures/assessments
- Be awarded guardianship
We hope this article has helped answer any questions you had about guardianship, like “What is guardianship in aged care?” and “What does guardianship over a parent mean?”
However, if you still have questions about how to get guardianship of a parent with dementia or aren’t sure how to care for a loved one once you become their guardian, the Care Managers at Stowell Associates are here for you.
Here at Stowell Associates, we’ve been providing exceptional elder care in the Milwaukee area for nearly 40 years. Our Care Managers are elder care professionals who walk alongside families as they seek to care for their aging loved ones. When you partner with a Care Manager, they’ll:
- Provide you with valuable care resources
- Identify the best options for your individual situation
- Support you through any decision-making processes
Our Care managers ensure that you don’t have to go through the caregiving process alone.
If you’re looking for an in-home caregiver for your loved one, you can contact TheKey. They provide trained, in-person caregivers to assist aging adults as they age in their homes.
Contact us today to talk with a Care Manager and learn how they can ease your caregiver burden and improve your elderly loved one’s quality of life.