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Guardianship may keep your loved one safe when Alzheimer's hits

One of the most devastating diagnoses a child may hear about a parent is Alzheimer's disease. This progressive form of dementia can quickly rob a once robust parent of the simplest capacities. It may also alter the victim's personality, forcing family and friends to watch helplessly as the person they loved slips away.

However, this feeling of helplessness does not have to mean the parent has no one to protect him or her. In fact, if your parent does not have a power of attorney in place, you may decide the time is right to seek legal guardianship so you will have the authority to make sound medical, financial and legal decisions for him or her.

Proving your case

Obtaining guardianship over a loved one means going through a legal process to convince the court that your parent is in need of this protection. If you have guardianship over your parent, you will have authority to choose a safe and appropriate nursing facility, manage your parent's finances, make medical decisions in your parent's name and take other critical actions. If your parent is already displaying dangerous symptoms, such as wandering or leaving food on the stove to burn, you may not want to wait to take this step.

The courts are often cautious not to grant guardianship too quickly and thus unnecessarily rob someone of his or her rights and freedoms. More importantly, the judge will want certainty that you are the appropriate person for the responsibilities. The court may require you to present a plan for your loved one's care and finances, and you can be sure you will be under the watchful eye of the state for the length of the guardianship.

Reach out for help

Initiating proceedings to gain guardianship of your parent may be one of the most emotional and troubling events of your life. You may feel confused at the reversal of roles and uncertain of what is expected of you. Fortunately, you do not have to deal with this on your own. There are many resources available for families in your situation.

One thing you do not have to do on your own is to handle the legal proceedings to seek guardianship from the courts. A compassionate attorney who has experience in helping other Texas families through these difficult times can provide you with the same assistance.

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