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When might an elder adult need a conservator or guardian?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2023 | Elder Law

It can be very difficult to watch age change a parent or other family member. Many older adults fiercely desire to remain independent for as long as possible despite health issues and cognitive decline. Their family members may not want to insult or offend them by pointing out that they struggle with independent living.

Unfortunately, putting too much weight on someone’s emotions could put their finances or health at risk to an unacceptable degree. Older adults in Ohio may sometimes require the support of another competent adult to manage their personal affairs. The Ohio probate courts can grant someone else authority over an aging adult in some cases.

When might an older adult require the support of a conservator or a guardian?

When their physical health declines

In some states, a conservatorship is essentially a guardianship that applies primarily to someone’s finances. A conservator plays a very different role in Ohio. An Ohio conservatorship involves an older adult asking the courts for help. The applicant must be of sound mind but may have physical health challenges that affect their ability to manage their own affairs. They can ask the courts to appoint an individual they selected as a conservatory. That conservator can take over the tasks that health issues prevent an older adult from managing.

When their cognitive abilities decrease

Not every older adult admits that they need support. Sometimes, families or caregivers have to ask the courts to intervene. Guardianship is typically only an option when someone lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs. Cognitive decline and dementia often spur people into seeking guardianship over a loved one. When someone becomes incapable of meeting their own needs, a guardianship will give another adult the ability to organize someone’s schedule, oversee their daily life and manage their resources. In some cases, guardianship only applies to daily care needs. Other times, it can also grant a guardian control over financial resources.

Those concerned about the support needs of an aging loved one may need to propose a conservatorship or consider going to court to seek a guardianship. Seeking legal guidance to learn more about the tools that exist for the protection of vulnerable older adults can help people provide proper support for someone struggling with the challenges of advanced age.