Dementia is a terrible condition that impacts many people as they age. It can render a once viral adult incapable of taking care of his or her basic needs.
If you have an aging parent who is showing signs of dementia, it is important to make a plan for his or her future care. Once your parent can no longer make decisions or keep him or herself safe, you will need to have the ability to legally take control. FindLaw suggests getting all estate documents in place before your parent is not mentally competent to do so.
The state sets the standards for mental competency. As long as your parent is legally competent, you have no ability to force him or her to do anything. The law sees your mom or dad as an adult who has the ability to make decisions without interference.
This can become complicated if your parent fails to get proper legal documents, such as a power of attorney or living will, in order prior to his or her mental health deteriorating to the point where the law no longer finds him or her competent.
In the absence of estate documents, you will have a very difficult time handling decisions for your parent. You may be unable to handle his or her personal business as well.
If you have the documents in place, it gives you the legal rights to make health care decisions or financial decisions.
Safety and security
Perhaps the biggest challenge you will face is keeping your parent safe and secure. If the court still finds your parent mentally competent, you cannot make him or her do anything. For example, if you feel it is unsafe for your parent to remain in his or her home alone, there would be nothing you could do about it. It would take some type of incident to show the court he or she is unable to be alone for you to have the authority to bring in home health care or put your parent in a facility.
The best thing you can do is to encourage your parent to get his or her estate in order at the first signs of dementia.