By, Jody Hudspeth, Paralegal for The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC
One of the many hats I wear as a paralegal is answering phone calls and emails from concerned loved ones and caregivers. This column, “The Elder Law Askit Basket”, features some of the scenarios we hear on a frequent basis. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, please email me at: email@example.com.
I went home for the holidays to see my mom. She’s a 75-year-old widow who’s always been very independent. I was really surprised when I saw her. She’s lost a lot of weight and her house is really messy. She seems to have given up on life since my dad died 2 years ago. She’s depressed and a little forgetful, but I don’t think she has dementia. I tried talking to her about going to an assisted living facility, but she won’t listen to me. Should I get guardianship of her?
I’m sorry to hear your mom isn’t taking care of herself. I know you care about your mom and you want to help her; however, the court will not appoint a guardian for someone who’s merely depressed. Guardianship is reserved for people who are incapacitated and cannot manage their own affairs. Instead of guardianship, you may want to consider talking to an Aging Life Care Professional.
Aging Life Care, also known as geriatric care management, is a holistic, client-centered approach to caring for older adults or others facing ongoing health challenges. We’ve referred a lot of people to Aging Life Care Professionals who have been successful in establishing a care plan with their loved one.
No one likes to be told what to do. Your mom might be resistant to going to an assisted living because you (her child) are telling her she needs to go to one. Getting an Aging Life Care Professional involved would be a good idea because your mom would have direct input in her own care plan, so she’ll feel more in control of her life. She might be more inclined to listen to a disinterested third party who’s not her child.
If you’d like to contact an Aging Life Care Professional, please contact Gray Matters, Sage Care Management, or Accountable Aging Care Management. I hope you find this information helpful. If you still have guardianship-related questions, feel free to email or call our office at (210)892-4555.