It is difficult watching someone you love decline with age. Their behavior and personality may change, and they may start struggling to handle even basic life responsibilities. Guardianship exists for exactly such situations. Family members can step up to help take care of someone no longer capable of taking care of themselves.
Unfortunately, when stories about guardianship make the news, they are almost always negative. Stories about individuals who may not have actually required guardianships or whose guardians misuse their resources lead people to think that guardianship is inherently negative.
However, the purpose of guardianship is positive and protective. The aim is to allow one adult to provide crucial support for another who struggles with managing independent living. Guardianship usually involves a lot of responsibility for the guardian in the hopes of a stabler, better-organized life. What are the two primary benefits that vulnerable adults receive when subject to a guardianship?
A decrease in personal responsibility
Those with serious health concerns and adults experiencing cognitive decline may struggle to handle their own affairs. They might miss crucial medical appointments that require weeks to reschedule. They could miss payments, damaging their credit scores and putting them at risk of eviction or foreclosure.
When concerned adults secure a guardianship over someone struggling to manage their own affairs, that vulnerable adult will no longer have to handle their own financial and medical concerns without support. There will be someone else to help manage matters so that they don’t suffer any long-term consequences because of their declining abilities.
An increase in daily support
A guardianship doesn’t just mean having the authority to make choices about someone’s life and money. It also means assuming responsibility for their daily living and overall well-being. A guardian will need to frequently interact with the individual subject to the guardianship. They must make choices that are in that person’s best interests and seek to properly manage their affairs and finances.
For those already struggling with health issues or cognitive decline, having a concerned adult frequently present in their life can be a source of stability and emotional support. Understanding that adult guardianships can be beneficial despite the negative press they receive could inspire your family to take appropriate steps for the benefit of someone you love.