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Alzheimer's and guardianship

caring-for-a-parent-with-alhzeimers-frese-hansen.JPGIf you are taking care of a loved one who is suffering Alzheimer's, chances are, every day is a struggle. Alzheimer's is a terrible, debilitating disease that robs individuals of their minds, memories and self-awareness. In most cases, Alzheimer's progresses slowly, beginning with minor forgetfulness and moving on into periods of dementia.

What family members think, at first may be manageable, can soon become a situation that is out of control. The rights and responsibilities that you think you have, as a caring family member, may be in jeopardy. That is why it is important to discuss possible guardianship of your loved one.

None of us wants to consider what would happen if we became incapacitated. That is why so few of us go through the motions of creating an advance directive or power of attorney. If the loved one you are caring for is like millions of other Americans, and doesn't have these contracts in place, it may be time to think about becoming their legal guardian.

Becoming the legal guardian of someone mentally incapacitated, such as in the case of an individual suffering from Alzheimer's, is difficult. It requires the help of an attorney and the approval of the court. Guardians are given certain powers by the court, established to allow them to provide for their loved ones, what they cannot provide for themselves. Once guardianship is granted, your rights and responsibilities as a loving provider are clearly established. From that point forward you can continue caring for them just as before, but with peace of mind knowing they are receiving the love and attention they deserve.

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