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There are usually serious challenges for both parent and child as an aging parent loses the ability to care for himself or herself. In some cases, the parent may have only nominal limitations. In others, a parent may be fully incapacitated.

A parent may be mentally capable of managing any situation, and physically capable of managing most. However, due to limited mobility — for example – assistance is still necessary. A trip to the bank now requires coordination of the parent’s and child’s schedule. Even when a child is willing to transport an otherwise immobile parent, it is not always convenient . . . for either party.

In those situations, a “power of attorney” may help. A power of attorney is a document which allows a parent to transfer to a trusted child (or other person) the authority to manage certain responsibilities on behalf of the parent. Granting a power of attorney to a child does not mean the parent has given up any authority. It simply means the child can also manage those tasks.

Unfortunately, there are also circumstances in which, due to dementia or other debilitating conditions, a parent is unable to make any decisions. In effect, they must be protected from themselves or those who would take advantage of them.

In those cases, the child may need to be appointed as the “guardian” for their parent, effectively switching the roles of parent and child. In a guardianship, the parent no longer has the authority to make important decisions, because a court has found they no longer have the capacity to do so.

A guardianship is a serious step. It takes away a person’s liberty, but only because that person can no longer care for himself/herself. As a result, it can only be granted by a judge after several significant steps are taken to make clear that a guardianship is necessary.

Come to a free, no obligation presentation and learn the basic facts that can help you and your loved ones be prepared for these and other challenges of aging.