We like to think of our parents and older relatives as immortal. We imagine that they will remain physically and mentally active for many years to come. Despite that faith, it often comes as a shock to Pittsburgh residents when a family member begins to show the signs of aging or they develop illnesses that affect their cognitive ability. These illnesses can slowly rob the family member of the ability to take care of themselves and to make financial and medical decisions that are truly in their own best interest.
As we have mentioned in previous posts, while discussions of these changing conditions can be challenging, it is better for people who have been received a diagnosis that indicates impairment of their cognitive abilities to create documents which will allow assistance with management of their financial and personal affairs, such as medical and financial powers of attorney. There may be time, early in the progression of some situations, where your relative still has an opportunity to understand the consequences of the decisions they are making and participate in discussions and planning for their own future.
If the process of cognitive decline is too far advanced, it may be necessary to acquire a guardianship to insure that your parent or relative receives necessary assistance with, and protection from, the consequence of their impairment or the misfeasance of others who may try to prey on their weaknesses. Lawyers at our firm understand the turmoil that families go through when they learn a loved one is suffering from a degenerative disease and we work with you to explore all options available to ensure that their personal and financial needs are met. For more on guardianships, visit our guardianships page.