When is the best time to consider a Guardianship for your elderly loved ones?
Customers of Michigan laundromat “The Laundry Station” were shocked this past week when a 98-year-old woman drove her car through the business' plate glass window after confusing the accelerator and brake pedals. Thankfully, no serious injuries were reported after the crash. However, this incident does bring to light some difficult questions about when guardianship may be an appropriate step in protecting your loved ones.
Hanging up the keys to the car can be a traumatic experience, representing a significant loss of autonomy. Sometimes, claims of theft or abuse or other serious conflicts have arisen when caring family members have attempted to take away their loved ones' driving privileges. In cases like this, applying for a guardianship may be necessary in getting mom or dad to hand over the keys.
What is guardianship?
Guardianships are a way of protecting someone who may not be able to make the best decisions for themselves, by placing them under the care of a family member, friend or other responsible individual. The guardian may then be responsible for things like:
- Consenting to medical treatment
- Paying debts and daily expenses
- Arranging for living space
- Making end-of-life and other decisions
Determining when guardianship is appropriate?
Of course, not every elderly person who is involved in an accident is an automatic candidate for guardianship. In Michigan, an adult may need a guardian if that person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions because of “mental illness, mental deficiency, or physical illness or disability.” This determination is not taken lightly, as the appointment of a guardian may drastically impact upon the rights of the protected individual.
If you are noticing that your elderly loved one may not be making the best decisions for themselves or are more confused or overwhelmed by daily situations, it may be time to consider whether guardianship is the right step. Elder Law attorney Andrew Byers assists Michigan families in making these tough decisions while maintaining the dignity and autonomy of his elderly clients. Contact him today at 248-341-1511 for a free consult.
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