As most readers understand, parents are responsible for the health and well-being of their children until those children reach the age of adulthood. At that time, children may begin to make their own decisions and be held accountable for their own legal actions. In New York and jurisdictions throughout the country, adulthood is generally recognized when a child reaches the age of 18 years.
It's heartbreaking to watch your formerly competent and decisive parent deteriorate into a confused, paranoid shell of their former self. Yet, such is the nature of dementia-inducing conditions like Alzheimer's.
No one wants to imagine a future in which they are unable to make decisions about their own welfare and care. Part of living independently is having the capacity to judge what one needs for one's own self and to procure it on his or her own terms. However, New York residents may have encountered situations where individuals have lost their abilities to properly care for their own needs and have had to have others step in to help them out.
No matter our age, we tend to show our love for our parents. And after putting in years to raise us, we are often ready and willing for these roles to reverse in the later years of their lives. Caring for an elderly parent is not only common in New York, it is often something one prepares for. It is difficult to consider assigning guardianship of an aging parent, but it is a step that is often necessary to take.
There is no way around it; we all age and will likely make it to our elderly years. Thus, it is important to consider ways to protect yourself, as the unexpected could happen at any age. And if a person in New York is no longer able to make decisions on their own due to incapacitation or any other reason, it is vital to have certain documents in place to protect yourself and outline your wishes.
For many older adults, retaining their independent mobility and living status is a source of personal pride. However, there are many situations in which an older loved one may want to remain on their own but is clearly no longer capable of doing so. When that happens, family members may find themselves in the difficult position of needing to intervene.
Very few New Yorkers expect to be put in a position where they have to be responsible for the care of a loved one. Yet, quite often, an elderly loved one, or one who is simply incapacitated, becomes unable to care for him or herself. When this happens, it may be necessary for an individual to seek guardianship of their loved one. Doing so can instill an individual with certain legal rights that allow them to ensure that the guardian and his or her property is adequately protected.
The future often seems so far away that many individuals fail to adequately prepare for it until it is too late. While this procrastination certainly includes retirement and estate planning, it also includes care planning. Those who fail to adequately prepare for their future care may wind up facing financial hardship, a difficulty that can be unfairly thrust upon their loved ones. In other instances, a failure to take action could result in action or inaction that goes against one's wishes.
Aging can take a toll on us. Not just on our physical abilities but also on our mental capabilities. This can render day-to-day living extremely difficult, making dealing with healthcare and financial issues impossible. When an individual is unable to make these decisions for him or herself, it may be time to consider an adult guardianship.
If you have a loved one who has suddenly become too ill to make decisions for him- or herself, you may need to seek guardianship powers to make decisions for him or her. New York law allows for children and other close family members of incapacitated persons to apply for guardianship to ensure that their loved one is appropriately cared for.