If you are fortunate enough to have long-lived parents, at some point you could be faced with a very challenging situation. Determining that your mother and/or father can no longer live independently is typically a process. You start to notice as the little losses, at first imperceptible, start adding up.
But there can be major incidents that occur one time that are so serious they require a family meeting to determine how the care of your parent(s) will be arranged. Wandering, getting lost while driving or becoming disoriented in a familiar setting are all ominous signs of cognitive decline.
Below are some tips families might find useful in similar circumstances:
1. Understand your loved one’s point of view
Imagine being asked to willingly surrender your autonomy (at least a great portion of it). Never mind that it might be necessary to protect you from harm caused by yourself or others. It is still a major blow to absorb. Give them some time.
2. Don’t escalate unnecessarily
Each situation is different and should be dealt with accordingly. If your father fell off the ladder taking down the holiday lights, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he needs to be placed in a nursing home. He might just need some additional help with seasonal outdoor chores.
3. Research all your legal options
Sometimes, however, an adult child or even grandchild might need to step in and make the critical legal and medical decisions they can no longer make for themselves. As each state’s guardianship laws differ, it is important to understand what steps you can take to proceed.