Watching your parents age and lose their abilities to care for themselves is often difficult, and so, too, is deciding when the time is right for you or someone else to intervene. In some cases, you may have powers of attorney in place that allow you to make certain types of decisions on a parent’s behalf. In other instances, your parent may be reluctant to sign powers of attorney, and even if he or she does so, some situations may call for more than that. 

How might you know when the time is right to appoint a guardian for an aging parent? Here are two indications that it may be appropriate to move forward with a guardianship for a parent. 

When necessitated by a medical situation

There are some medical events and situations that warrant more than a standard health care proxy. If your parent is unable to consent to a particular procedure or treatment due to dementia or something similar, you may need to establish a guardianship for things to move forward. Similarly, if your mother or father needs certain types of medications and is unable to consent to taking them, you may need to have a guardianship in place to get your parent the care he or she needs. 

When a parent refuses entry into a nursing home 

It is understandably hard to surrender some of your independence, so it is not unusual for aging parents to resist entry into a nursing home, even if it is the best thing for them. Establishing a guardianship over a parent who refuses to move into a nursing home may help you navigate these difficult matters faster. 

Other circumstances may also give you cause for appointing someone a guardian over a parent. While you may be able to avoid establishing guardianships in some cases by making sure your parent has a solid estate plan in place, other situations may merit establishing a guardianship regardless.