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The role of guardianships for the elderly

Guardianships are a type of court-appointed relationship that enables one person to care for another person who is medically or financially vulnerable in some way. In many cases, guardianships are put in place so that elderly people can be cared for by loved ones when they are no longer able to adequately look after themselves.

If you are considering a guardianship for a vulnerable loved one, it is important that you take early action. It can take a considerable amount of time to successfully put a guardianship in place, so a proactive approach is best.

What role do guardians have?

When guardians are appointed by the courts, they are given certain duties and responsibilities. In many cases, an elderly person may be unable to care for themselves. Therefore, guardians may be required to maintain their ward's regular hygiene, administer medications that keep the person alive, help to manage finances, and do grocery shopping as well as prepare food -- or arrange for those things to be done in some fashion.

Who can petition a court to designate a guardian?

A person must have a certain relationship with the vulnerable person in order to petition the court to designate a guardian for them. The person who is or expects to become vulnerable can petition the court. Alternatively, their spouse, domestic partner, relative, or personal friend can take action. The state or local government agency can also petition the court when it is appropriate.

If you are concerned about a loved one's degrading independence and you want to make sure that they have the support they need in the future, you should look into the possibilities of guardianships and how they could help your cause.

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