How to protect elderly loved ones

Many Floridians need to protect elderly relatives or other family members that might have limited capacity to take care of their own affairs. This could be an adult child with severe Down’s Syndrome or an aging parent with signs dementia or other conditions. In some situations, people have already established their ability to manage the needs of a person but in other cases, incapacitation can creep up leaving them wondering what their options are.

The creation of a guardianship can be the way to take care of an incapacitated person. There are several situations in which this can be warranted. One of these is when a person shows signs of a high potential for financial exploitation. Exploitation or financial abuse can be perpetrated by strangers such as through scams but can also be done at the hands of a trusted advisor, like someone who holds a power of attorney.

Elderly people have the right to refuse care or insist on remaining in their own homes. However, when the resistance to care crosses the line and opens up the opportunity for serious harm to result, action may be able to be taken. Examples of dangers include leaving stovetops on so that fires may develop or continuing to drive and causing an accident. When a person begins to fail to stay on top of bills and other financial responsibilities, a guardianship can be sought to help manage these items.

The process of obtaining a guardianship can be upsetting for the elderly person and complicated for families yet may often be necessary. People who want to learn more may wish to speak to an experienced attorney.

Source: Naples Daily News, “When is a legal guardianship necessary for the elderly,” Jill Burzynski, November 12, 2015


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