Carol’s mother has dementia, and it’s been getting worse over the last year. Because her mom still lives alone, Carol checks in on her every day. Lately, she’s noticed how messy her mother’s house is, with dirty clothes on the floor and food left in the sink. Yesterday, she walked in to find a pot of soup burning dry on the stove, the smoke detector going off and her mother in a panic due to the noise.
Larry’s dad has mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and is embarrassed about his diminishing abilities. To cover up his embarrassment, he denies having trouble doing day-to-day tasks and grows irritable and aggressive when his family confronts him about needing help. He’s refused to let his children hire a part-time in-home caregiver.
If Carol’s or Larry’s experiences sound similar to concerns you face as a caregiver to someone with memory loss, it might be time to consider the option of guardianship. When a loved one’s memory loss has advanced so much that they can no longer keep themselves healthy or safe, or they refuse to let others care for them, legal guardianship can give families the ability to ensure they receive the help they need to live safely.
Why Would I Need Legal Guardianship of My Loved One?
“There are many reasons why family caregivers choose to claim legal guardianship of their loved ones with memory loss,” says Cydney Hansen, Marketing Director at CountryHouse, a memory care community in Granite Bay, CA. “It becomes a good solution when a loved one’s memory loss has advanced so much that the person can no longer make rational decisions for their own health and safety. When this happens, a legal guardian can step in to make sure they receive necessary care, live in safe conditions or protect their finances against the declining cognitive abilities of dementia.”
The article, “How to Gain Guardianship for a Parent with Alzheimer’s,” explains a number of circumstances that might make legal guardianship a good choice for family caregivers:
- Loved one lives alone with late-stage memory loss
- Loved one refuses help or resists care from family or paid caregivers
- They deny or lie about having serious trouble with daily living tasks or cognitive difficulties
- They’re not safe at home without supervision, or they wander outside the house
- They can no longer handle important financial tasks, or have fallen victim to financial scammers
- They would be extremely vulnerable in case of emergencies, such as a fire, evacuation or driving accident
If any of these scenarios reflect your caregiving situation, or something else requires you to take control over your loved one’s situation, obtaining legal guardianship can help you make sure your loved one’s best interests are addressed.
What Does Legal Guardianship Do?
Legal guardianship of a loved one with memory loss is similar to having guardianship over a child. In its simplest form, it gives you the legal right to make decisions on your loved one’s behalf. When your loved one can no longer make rational decisions about their own health and safety, a legal guardian can step in to make those decisions or oversee their loved one’s finances, care services or living arrangements.
While legal guardianship may come with difficult challenges between your relationship with your loved one, especially if they are resistant to help or care support, this can be the best solution if their memory loss puts them at risk for serious harm. As their guardian, you can make sure your loved one lives in a dignified space, either with your family or in a memory care community. You can also guard their financial assets and be in control of their future or long-term care.
How Do I Obtain Guardianship?
Because gaining guardianship is a legal process, experts suggest seeking the guidance of an elder law attorney so that you fully understand the legal implications of guardianship. However, guardianships are fairly common within family law, so it is possible to represent yourself, as long as you educate yourself about the process.
You must obtain guardianship through a court proceeding. Before your hearing, a psychologist should evaluate your loved one to assess their mental capacity and ability to make decisions on their own. The majority of the court proceeding will focus on providing evidence that you will make a good and competent guardian.
The court typically considers two important aspects when granting someone guardianship over their loved one: your plan for your loved one’s care and your intentions for appropriately managing their finances. During the hearing, you will have to prove your ability to make the best decisions for your loved one’s care and well-being. If the judge decides that you are trustworthy and competent in this area, you will be granted guardianship.
We’re Here for You
Becoming the legal guardian of your loved one with memory loss is a big step in providing care, and it can be an intimidating process. If you’re considering guardianship but would like to talk to someone about your concerns, the team at CountryHouse would be happy to help you figure out your options. We’re here to help you, and your loved one, through the transitions of legal guardianship and whatever changes occur down the road.
Treating people like family is at the heart of what we do.
CountryHouse at Granite Bay is the very first CountryHouse location in California. With a desirable location among Folsom Lake and the Sierra foothills, and only 25 miles northeast of Sacramento, Granite Bay was the perfect area to place our upscale memory care community. While CountryHouse at Granite Bay may be brand new to California, we are certainly not new to the needs of seniors. And just like every CountryHouse around the United States, we know that personalized care can make all the difference when it comes to quality care and peace of mind.
At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we provide personalized memory care in an environment that is beautiful and thoughtfully designed. Full of natural light, warmth and tasteful elegance, we want residents and their families to feel welcome and at home. In fact, our staff members are even hand-picked based on their natural empathy. Our staff learns each resident’s story, from their likes and dislikes to their values and their pasts, in order to customize care and make meaningful connections that provide residents with true moments of joy and the desire to make the most of each day.
With our LifeCycles wellness programming, we encourage residents to connect, engage and enjoy every day. Our LifeCycles programming is designed to focus on the four dimensions of wellness: physical, social, spiritual and intellectual. We achieve this through a range of daily activities and routines, which can include daily bus rides, cookouts, trips and other special events. At CountryHouse at Granite Bay, we strive to make sure our residents make the most of each day, and we believe that when you treat people like family, and keep that at the heart of what you do, residents, their families and their health thrive. Contact us to learn more!
Connect with us today or call us at 916•850•2774 for more information or to schedule a visit.
CountryHouse is part of the Agemark family of senior living communities.