Older adults often become dependent in a manner similar to the dependency of children. They may have lost both the physical ability and the mental acuity to live independently. They require support, if not outright care.
Family members worried about the effects of aging on parents or other older loved ones may eventually have to make the difficult decision to seek guardianship. Under Florida statutes, those concerned about cognitive decline in older adults can request a guardianship in order to help them manage their affairs.
In fact, the state has two different stages of guardianship available, which might make the transition easier for your parents. When you seek a guardianship, you can ask the court to give you either a limited or a plenary guardianship. Each of these has its own unique benefits.
A limited guardianship is good for those who are still mostly independent
When someone has mild issues with forgetfulness or is in the early stages of a medical condition that has yet to truly impact their cognitive ability, they may resent and even fight against an attempt to secure guardianship.
Asking for a limited guardianship could make an older adult more comfortable. For example, they may only give the guardian authority to handle certain financial matters, while the older adult can still make their own medical decisions. The ability to retain some autonomy can make a limited guardianship a good option for older adults not yet ready to depend on others.
Plenary guardianship works for those who cannot take care of themselves
If your older loved one no longer remembers to pay their bills on time, forgets doctor’s appointments or doesn’t understand the medical care that they need to receive, they may not be in a position to make their own legal, financial and medical decisions any more. The plenary guardianship authorizes someone else to assume full authority for all delegable responsibilities.
Your loved one’s condition and the reasons you feel guardianship is necessary will inform whether a limited or plenary guardianship is the better solution for your family’s circumstances. An experienced attorney can help you seek whichever you choose.