Children grow up idealizing their parents and thinking of them as infallible. Although you eventually realize that they are humans prone to mistakes like anyone else, you probably still look up to them. It can be quite jarring to realize that they now struggle with taking care of themselves.
Visiting your parents, only to discover past-due bills stacked on the kitchen table or voicemails about medical appointments that they missed might make you worry that they can no longer handle their affairs on their own.
Talking with aging parents about these issues may get you nowhere. If they resist support, you may feel like you need to intervene and push them to accept help. Colorado does allow those concerned about vulnerable adults to initiate guardianship hearings.
How do you know if it is time to ask for guardianship over your parents?
They have a serious diagnosis
If a doctor has diagnosed your parent with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar condition that will progress or that results in dementia, it is likely only a matter of time before they need ongoing support to care for themselves.
Once you start noticing obvious symptoms of cognitive decline, keeping detailed personal records of those issues and connecting them to the diagnosis may help you realize that a guardianship is necessary and convince the courts of the same thing.
They can’t manage their own household
If your loved one is on the verge of foreclosure or eviction because they can’t make payments on time or if their health is in decline because they don’t go to scheduled medical appointments, they may need someone to handle those matters on their behalf.
As their guardian, you can oversee their medical care and manage their finances. You can also make sure that they don’t waste their money, as those struggling to live independently may stop thinking about their long-term needs and may spend what resources they have frivolously.
Although your parents may not be happy about the guardianship, it may ultimately protect them and the rest of the family from the consequences of their declining health. Knowing when an adult guardianship might be a necessary tool for your family will make it easier for you to support your parents in their golden years.