Facing a Hard Truth: Caring for a Dependent Adult
When people age, they begin to lose the ability to perform certain tasks that they once took for granted. These can range from the inability to perform physical activities that were once part of their daily routine, to mental symptoms that require increased assistance for safety. If you are the caregiver for an adult who has an inability, due to aging, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or other reasons, you may want to consider a Dependent Adult Application. This is an important step and should be undertaken with a lawyer. Call Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation.
Dementia, the Aging Mind, and Decision-Making
Many caregivers for older adults are adult children caring for their parents. In fact, in 2012, 39% of Canada's 8 million family caregivers were caring for their mother or father. Physical problems become increasingly frequent as adults age, and children are tasked with ensuring the safety of their parents both physically and in other ways. Signs of mental health issues with an aging parent may include:
- Bounced checks
- Collections and delinquent payment notices
- Mood swings
- Confusion when performing tasks that should be familiar
- Depressed or low-energy
- Disheveled clothing
- Spoiled groceries
- Foods not disposed of or put away properly
- Missing appointments
- Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
- Broken appliances
- Dirty or disorganized home
- Yard in need of cutting or maintenance
- Unexplained scratches or dents on their car
- Unexplained bruising
This is not a comprehensive list, and many of the symptoms overlap. However, if you notice any of these warning signs, it’s time to have a conversation about decision-making for the parent’s safety and wellbeing.
Do You Need a Dependent Adult Application?
If a parent or other older adult in your care is mentally incapacitated and unable to look after themselves or make safe, responsible decisions, someone else must take on that responsibility. In some cases, the older adult has already obtained an enduring power of attorney or personal directive, permitting someone to make decisions for them. For those who did not take these steps, it is time to complete a dependent adult application.
There are two types of dependent adult applications. Guardianship orders are similar to living wills, addressing the physical aspects of the person’s care. Trusteeship Orders appoint a trustee to deal with monetary, business, and asset affairs of the person they are representing.
Points to Remember
It may be difficult for the parent to admit that they need help. They still have emotions and may not be happy about losing control over their funds. Before moving forward, pick a time when they seem fairly clear. Discuss the situation calmly, and invite them to be a part of the process as you pay bills, etc. Talk about the process openly to ensure they understand everything and don’t feel that they are being taken advantage of or insulted. If the older adult disagrees, you may employ an expert to assess their abilities to make decisions. Regulations that govern competence for decision-making vary between provinces. We can help you identify the relevant information for your area.
While caring for an older adult or parent can be very demanding, it can also be rewarding. Provide the best care possible when your parent is no longer able to make their own decisions. For assistance with the Dependent Adult Application process, call Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500 today.