Guardianship involves granting one individual the type of authority over another adult that parents usually have over minors. A guardian needs to provide for someone’s basic daily needs and ensure their safety despite medical or cognitive challenges. Some people require guardianship their entire adult lives due to disabling medical conditions. Many others require a guardianship later in life when they develop medical issues like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Many people are averse to the idea of guardianship, and their aversion may affect what their families choose to do in the face of evolving circumstances. Ultimately, failing to seek a guardianship could actually end up being a huge mistake.
When families don’t act, professionals might
The law in New Jersey allows any concerned party to begin the legal process that leads to a guardianship. Although families are often the ones most involved in an older adult’s daily life, there could be medical professionals or residential care facilities that could decide to seek a guardianship.
Particularly when it seems as though an older adult needs support but their family members have failed to act, professionals employed by nursing homes and other companies that provide medical services to vulnerable adults might initiate guardianship proceedings. They can point to someone’s decline in health or cognitive ability and the inaction of their family members as justification for doing so.
There have been cases where facilities have gained guardianship, assumed authority over someone’s life and then acted in the best interest of the business rather than the person subject to guardianship. An older adult’s quality of life and comfort will not be as much of a concern for a facility hoping to protect its financial interest as it will be for their family members and loved ones.
When families are proactive about seeking guardianship, they may protect their loved one from a situation in which someone without their best interests at heart could pursue control over their daily life. Seeking legal guidance is a good option when families are unsure of what to do and when in this regard.