Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Guardians

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Updated: June 13, 2022


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As your loved ones get older, they may struggle to maintain their daily routine. If a senior’s health declines to the point where they can no longer live safely on their own, the court may appoint them a senior guardian, also known as an adult guardian. If you have a friend or family member who is in this situation, you may not know what to expect. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about senior guardianship.

What is a senior guardian?

A senior guardian is someone who is designated by the court to care for an adult ward. This guardian is then in charge of making important decisions about the senior’s care and daily life. This is a legal responsibility that will be overseen by the court to ensure that the senior is safe and healthy.

Who can be a senior guardian?

Legally, any adult can become a senior guardian. Generally, senior guardians are a family member or close friend of the ward who is very familiar with their needs and preferences. A senior guardian should be someone that the ward trusts, and they also need to be capable of handling financial and personal affairs. This means that people who are very busy with other familial or professional obligations may not be a good fit. If someone is interested in becoming a senior guardian for their loved one, they will need to file a petition in court. If more than one person petitions to become a senior guardian, the court will choose the person who is the most qualified.

Who should have a senior guardian?

Appointing a senior guardian means that the ward will lose most of their freedom and independence, so the courts will only take this measure when it is necessary for the senior’s safety and well-being. For example, the court may appoint a guardian if a senior has a stroke and loses some of their key brain function. It’s also common for the court to appoint a senior guardian in cases where dementia or Alzheimer’s has caused significant decline.

What are guardians responsible for?

Guardians are responsible for many important aspects of a senior’s life. One of the most important things they are responsible for is managing the senior’s finances. It’s also necessary for the guardian to make sure that the senior has appropriate assistance with their daily tasks, and that they can take medication and see the doctor as necessary. This role requires a lot of responsibility and gives the guardian nearly full control over the ward’s life. Trust is very important in this scenario, as it will help to prevent abuse.

When and how does the court appoint a guardian?

If a senior is fully incapacitated and cannot make their own decisions, their family members or friends can petition to become a senior guardian. This will only happen if the senior does not have power of attorney already in place. The court will assess the situation to ensure that the guardian is fully capable of making these key decisions. In some rare situations, the court may appoint a professional guardian if a family member or friend is not available to serve in this position.

Becoming a senior guardian is a serious responsibility that is not to be taken lightly. In cases where a senior’s mental and physical health declines, a senior guardian will help ensure they are safe and that their wishes are taken into account. As you and your loved ones get older, it is important to have discussions about these issues. It also is important to discuss the addition of a medical alert device in the home. Read our Medical Guardian reviews for the latest information.