If your aging parents are no longer able to properly care for themselves, it might be time to step in. It might be difficult for them to acknowledge that they need help with their own care, especially when they're so used to being independent. However, if your parents need help, and they're not willing—or able—to ask for it themselves, it's time speak to an attorney about guardianship. If you're not sure that your parents need that type of intervention, here are four signs that will help you make that determination.
They're Losing Weight
If your parents are suddenly losing weight, and the doctor has found no medical reason for this, they may not be able to feed themselves properly anymore. Take a look around their home. If their cupboards are bare, or their home shows no signs of food preparation, they may have reached a stage where they're no longer able to prepare their own meals.
If your parents used to be clean, but they've recently started wearing dirty clothes, or have not bathed, they may be unable to provide for their own basic hygiene. If they have the basic equipment in their home that should provide them with the ability to care for their own needs—shower chairs, handrails, and so forth—and they're still not taking care of their daily hygiene, this may be a sign that they need additional care or supervision.
They're Not Managing Their Finances
If your parents have fallen behind on their bills, and there is no financial reason for this, they may be having a difficult time keeping track of the bills that need to be paid. Take a look in their mailbox and on their counters. If you see a large collection of unopened mail, your parents may have reached a point where living on their own is no longer a viable option for them.
They're Making Unsound Financial Decisions
If your parents are suddenly making unsound financial decisions, it's time to consider guardianship. This is particularly true if they've begun giving control of their finances to people that you don't know—such as younger friends that they've recently met. The elderly are easy targets for people who are interested in committing fraud by taking control of bank accounts and life-insurance policies.
If your parents need help, and they're unable or unwilling to acknowledge that need, you should talk to an elder attorney such as David S. Riehl, Attorney At Law about guardianship proceedings. Guardianship will help you protect your parents and give them the care that they need.