Has anyone had to tell their parent that they were filing for guardianship?


I just told my Dad today that us kids filed for guardianship and he was sent the notice from the court. And until the court decides he will be staying where he is in a long term care center. He said it was not gonna happen, and he was fine. I told him he had moderate vascular dementia from a series of strokes. He said that he did not-it was one of my sisters that told the doctor that. I explained we had the necessary documents that determined he was not capable of making his own decisions. It was either us or the state would appoint someone. That we loved him and did not want some stranger making decisions for him. He did not take it well, said he was going to get an attorney and take all the people that tested him and said he passed with flying colors. It is very sad because he is doing pretty good in the nursing home, gaining weight, not running amuck all over the city. And not having the ER and hospital calling every 5 or 6 days when there is another crazy thing or new crisis happening. He is in a structured environment, someone is cleaning him up when he has an accident. I just feel very very sad. He was a selfish man, deserted and abandoned his children after our mothers died, caused drama and chaos for all of his 90 years. But now all that hurt, anger, frustration we all felt with him is over. He is a sick old man, but it is sad.

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I’m not sure I understand your question. Is there some reason why dad can’t stay where he is? Will his life change that drastically simply because one of you will now have guardianship over him? He sounds very independent and probably doesn’t realize (and you probably shouldn’t mention it) that the people at his facility are doing things for him now and in effect being his guardians. In reality, can he actually get an attorney and take everyone to court, or is it just the rantings of a ticked off old man? So put that one aside.

You have done what needs to be done. It doesn’t sound like you’ve had an easy relationship with him over your lifetime. Old hurts and accusations rise to the surface during times like this. Hold your ground and consider the source.
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Reply to Ahmijoy

I have legal guardianship of both my parents. They were very angry with me and managed to get a court appointed attorney. Their attorney understood that both of them were in need of someone to manage their affairs, so he negotiated with me on what they could and couldn't have when they moved to assisted living.
My Dad was so angry with me that he told me if he had a gun, he would put it to the back of my head and pull the trigger. That was two years ago. Now, they are both in a safe environment and seem to have forgotten about the whole thing.
It isn't easy going through the process, but it's well worth it.
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Reply to Kindnessandlove

From my experience with my parents, people with memory issues do not realize their level of cognitive impairment and people who have cognitive problems without a major memory impact deny them to others as a defense mechanism.

My mother's short term memory is bad while her cognitive abilities are only slightly impacted and she will asked me "Am I really that bad?" when I tell her we NEED to do something. She initially resisted using notes and labels to help her remember things, but eventually embraced them.

My father's memory was not much impacted (at least initially) by his multiple TIAs leading to vascular dementia, but his cognitive skills were clearly impacted. My father grew up in and worked in the construction industry his entire life. As a child I was his gofer while he remodeled an old house rental house - doing excellent quality masonry, carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and roofing (didn't realize that skill level that much at the time, but appreciated it more later as an adult). In his job, he directed architects and reviewed drawings and inspected buildings. As an adult I was helping him install a new dishwasher and realized he couldn't make a minor adjustment in the install to accommodate his drain line going into the wall instead of through the floor as shown in the diagram. I knew he had some deficits but until that moment didn't realize nearly how bad basic cognitive abilities had been impacted. Daddy continues to this day to claim he has no problems whatsoever. He knows that he does - some of the things he asked for my help with indicate he didn't always trust his own judgment in the mid dementia stage. Now he has advanced dementia, does no thinking for himself, follows the lead of a child that has isolated him from the rest of the family in a effort to protect an inheritance, and is very verbally abusive to nearly everyone who crosses his path.

Your father's rant is very similar to what we have experienced with my father anytime we tried to discuss his problems over the years and how we might mitigate or address some of the them. Chin up, if the medical evidence of incompetence is there, the court will establish a guardianship. My understanding is that if the children are united in who they want for conservator, the court will usually give that more weight that the incompetent elder who is angry that his competency is being challenged. Going outside the family for the conservator only becomes likely when the family is arguing or the assets to be managed are large or complex. Your father may eventually forget he has a conservator so I wouldn't discuss it again unless he brings it up.
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Reply to TNtechie

Ahmijoy stated it all very well.

I didn't want guardianship over my dad. I didn't want POA for him - heck, some days I have enough trouble attending my own problems. I was glad to assist him and he often apologized for not naming me POA but I just reminded him that I never asked for it. It was always someone else suggesting it to him. 7.5 years later I helped him to get into Hospice and they made his last week on earth total bliss.

Your father does sound like he is functioning - why would you think the state is going to step in and appoint a guardian??

Something is missing in your question, but the state doesn't just step in and appoint guardians for the elderly. Not without a valid reason. If you have papers telling you that the state will step in, then it really doesn't matter what Dad says.

Why did you feel the need to tell him? What caused this need to arise? You don't have to state it here - but maybe you need an attorney - an Elder Attorney?
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Reply to RayLinStephens

If family is willing to take on the Power of Attorney that is usually the better way to go; however, there are so many dynamics in family relationships these days, that a family member isn't always the best choice. If parents are wise in their cognitive (earlier) years, they will observe their own children, and even discuss with them their desires to place one or more children as their POA. My parents chose me and talked with me. When my mom was beginning to show some more serious health issues (later learned she had Parkinson's and had experienced some TIA's), my parents and I sat down with their lawyer to discuss what my role would be. This was helpful, but I have to admit nothing can prepare anyone for what POA will require of them. Thankfully, God gave my parents wisdom to see which child would best look out for their best interests. They trained all of us well during our childhood, but the skills I was blessed with and the determination to always care most about their needs must have been something they saw in me over the years. It was never easy, but I'm so glad they planned ahead and we worked together. They are both in glory now, and I can honestly say that every decision (which wasn't necessarily the one's my siblings would have made) were the best ones for my parents. I had great counsel when I struggled, and I often prayed for wisdom—which God promises to give His children.

Now, my husband and are trying to help my aunt and uncle. Their sons do not want the responsibility of caring for their parents. My uncle was and still is verbally abusive toward them (and sometimes toward us, just not as forceful). My uncle's V.A. doctor (and possibly others) have reported to Social Services, my uncle's inability to care properly for my aunt, and even for himself. So now the court is working to appoint a guardian for both of them and possibly have them moved out of their home into a facility. My uncle is adamant that he has no dementia, but wow! does he ever! Not only dementia (that doctors have documented), but also paranoia, etc. He spends nearly all day on the phone calling bill collectors and banks to argue over his bills and to say that it's all fraud. He forgets when accounts have been closed due to negative balances, and often calls us in a panic because he "just learned that 'those people' have closed his account!" We can remind him daily about the lack of money in the account, but he will forget. Meals are a thing that happens when he thinks about it (last night neither of them had eaten dinner, and he was still talking to my husband on the phone at 9:50 p.m.) At least Meals on Wheels brings lunch M-F!

I say all this, because having a court appointed guardian that is not a family member is a long process, so one has to be prepared for this. If you have a sibling that is trustworthy and capable of determining what is best for your dad, then by all means allow them to become his guardian. If not, then a court appointed guardian may be better.

None of this is easy, and family dynamics when abuse has been a part of the mix is even worse as a person ages. I will pray for your family and for wisdom and encouragement as all of you walk this path. At least your dad sounds like he's getting good care, has a roof over his head, and is being fed daily on a schedule—all of that is a good thing!
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Reply to busymom

I sense animosity toward this 90 year old and I hope that is not the future guardian. Forgiveness is good for the soul. You started out asking about the guardianship and his abandonment and drama and chaos issues seemed to over power your concern of the guardianship. Maybe one of his sisters is best to be the guardianship. If I offended someone in my life, that is the last person I want to have guardianship over me.
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Reply to commutergirl

In our relationship my mother in law is very angry that my son is now her agent/guardian. Each day is a fight and a battle of sorts. Lots of calls from my sister in law to tell me what to do.
So the anger part seems pretty normal, that is what we are finding out.
Guardianship is not all it is cracked up to be as a family member.

Is he going to stay in Long Term Care or are you wanting him to move?
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Reply to Val3rie

It would be WW3 if someone got guardianship over my mother (unless she was really out of it). It won't be me. It will be one of the Golden Boy brothers. I will make sure of THAT!
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Reply to CTTN55

Guardianship is often involuntary and there are valud reasons for seeking this. POA/Durable Medical POA is often insufficient in situations where a person is truly incompetent and needs to be legally protected from persons who might defraud them or where physical custody is not voluntary.
POA has limits. Guardianship has many fewer. It is a significant step, and stripping an adult of many rights of self determination, the right to sell property, to buy property in their name, to vote, refuse medical treatment etc. is at stake. Usually, a publicly sponsored ad litem attorney is automatically appointed to protect the person who is the subject of the guardianship petition. Only one person will actually become the guardian, and that person becomes PERSONALLY, LEGALLY and FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE for that person...A guardian can be sued . Just like the parents of a child can be sued, for the actions of the child.
Conservatorship is primarily financial in nature.

Both have significant fiduciary responsibilities that include annual reports to the court (which must be paid for out of the person’s estate, or by the Guardian/Conservator). Salary abd or reimbursements must be approved by the court, either in advance. An sale of real property or a significant asset must iften be approved in advance...another trip to court. Get ready for the legal fees.

I estimate we spent over $10k in 5 years. Out of our pocket, caring for my MIL. We had to pursue guardianship to prevent a fraudulent marriage and be able to physically control where she lived, legally. The man who was trying to marry her was seeking to sell her paid off home, and then attempt to secure half of the funds.
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Reply to missmacintx

So dad will get a letter as customary. If he has good cognition then he should be able to make it to court without your assistance to protest. PrairieLake, is he able to actually remember the date and get there? If yes ,then it may be a concern. If no then you should not worry. To other posters who recommend not going through guardianship, I assume it is necessary because he never signed a POA
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Reply to MACinCT

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