Your parent may have been your touchstone throughout most of your life. Whenever you had a problem, you may have gone to your mom or dad for advice, and you likely also relied on your parent for protection, love and care. Now that he or she has reached elder years, you may feel mixed emotions.
On one hand, you undoubtedly feel joyous that you still have your parent because so many people lose both of their parents before reaching your age. On the other hand, you may feel immense concern because your mother or father has started showing signs of serious mental decline and refuses help.
What can you do?
When you notice concerning signs regarding your parent's mental state, one of your first steps may involve having him or her examined by a doctor. In some cases, an assessment could catch the early signs of Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia before the disease progresses too far. Receiving an early diagnosis may prove useful because you could then have the chance of talking to your parent about creating power of attorney documents, if they do not already exist. These documents could put you in charge of important decisions.
Of course, your parent may have a stubborn and headstrong personality and refuse to believe that he or she needs help. As a result, your mom or dad may not want to move forward with creating documents that could give you control, even though it may be a protective measure.
Should you seek guardianship?
It may seem like you are overruling your parent's authority, but as you become the caretaker and your parent becomes the one in need, your authority may take precedence. As a result, you may need to consider putting aside his or her refusal to create power of attorney documents. Refusal to sign this protective document may be a sign that you should pursue guardianship, and other signs include the following:
- Your parent will not agree to go to a nursing home even though it is necessary. Having guardianship gives you the authority to admit your parent.
- You notice that your parent has difficulty making decisions, but only regarding certain areas of his or her life. If so, you may want to pursue limited guardianship.
- If you need to consent to medical treatment on behalf of your parent, but a healthcare power of attorney does not exist, having guardianship can give you this authority.
Choosing to file for guardianship over your parent is a difficult scenario. While you may feel that this step is necessary in order to ensure his or her health and safety, you may also feel as if you are taking away your parent's independence. Still, this option may be the best for your situation, and discussing guardianship with a Texas attorney could allow you to obtain useful information.