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So for those interested in how things may progress or not progress in the pursuit to be a guardian of a parent with dementia, here are our recent events. Our first hearing was postponed because mom claimed she never got her papers in the mail from the lawyer. Our second hearing stopped and bound over for trial because mom contested the hearing. She actually didn't contest on her own, she was just so confused I think the judge came to the conclusion it was best not to proceed. In the meantime we were not given a chance to speak at all, and no consideration was given to mom living alone or her safety. Now we wait, and think about if we want a trial. We have taken a step back and mom is battling her demons on her own. She calls multiple times a day with her delusions and hallucinations, but told the judge she doesn't want us or need us in her home. I am learning how not to respond to each of these calls, as so far they have not been emergencies. Neighbors called the police and they checked on her once recently. I used to respond or have someone respond to every problem. We call each day, and one of us would stop in daily, but we have stopped. We plan to stop in once or twice a week. Do we even need guardianship? I am beginning to question this. I want it to provide safety for her. Do I need Conservatorship? I want it to protect her accounts and make sure there is money for her care in the future, and to protect her from fraud and becoming a victim. But do I really need this? Is it worth fighting for. I am so very tired.

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In my case, I am glad I became my mother's legal guardian and conservator, but it was NOT an easy path and a lot more than I realized I was signing up for. My mother (vascular dementia) fought tooth and nail, objected to the guardianship, refused to mediate, and finally ended up not showing up in court for the hearing. But she was so confused she couldn't remember who her attorney was, why any of it was happening, every day was the same thing over and over, it was (and still is) Groundhog Day. Anyway she was just moved to a very nice ALF at the end of last month and I wouldn't have been able to do any of that without the guardianship AND conservatorship. Yes there is a crap ton of paperwork and documentation and I'm not looking forward to filing all the reports. Even though nobody else was contesting the guardianship (my brother was 100% in support), because my mom was so difficult, it ended up costing over $15,000 in legal fees. But if it means my mom can be safe, it is totally worth it.
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I would consult an elder care attorney before seeking guardianship. That is a long and expensive road to take if you don't have to. You might be able to accomplish what you need with POA and Primary Health Care Proxy. I know I looked into guardianship, but I have been able to do what I need without it. Good Luck
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An Elder Care attorney could determine if your parent(s) are competent enough to set up DPOA and (best method to protect assets) a trust for any assets (monetary or real estate). If so, parents would have to agree - this may be a hurdle, but if you (or the atty) explain this well enough, saying it is to ensure no one takes advantage of you and your property, go for it! If they are not deemed competent or refuse and you really feel that someone needs to step in, guardianship (over see personal welfare) and stewardship (assets) would be sought out from the courts.
The problem with going the court route is if ANYONE contests it, including those you are trying to protect - you have seen so far how the courts have delayed. If the principal(s) contest, the courts will assign them their own attorney. All this will cost a LOT of money, but hopefully the result will be safety for your parent(s) and their assets. The other downside to guardianship and stewardship is that you must provide regular reports to the court, so that they are assured you are not abusing the assets/person.

DPOA reporting is not required, but other family members might want to be involved to at least know what is going on. Keeping records, especially using non-cash methods for payments, can provide you with the means to satisfy them.

In your case it sounds like mom is probably too far over the edge to be considered capable of signing paperwork for DPOA and trust, so you will have to go the court route if she is a danger to herself, physically and/or financially. Have you brought in anyone to assess her, such as her doctor or APS? If you have an outside opinion documenting that she should be protected, you could probably get the courts to agree without a trial.... maybe... worth a shot.
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Often having a Durable Powers of Attorney is enough for someone to deal with the responsibilities of another's life. The catch to this of course, is that the principal must agree to it and be considered legally competent to grant this authority.

In our situation DPOA was enough to look after my mother and the details of her life.

The only time guardianship was considered was when my mom was first placed in a nursing home. Mom was less than thrilled with this placement. In the beginning, on a couple of occasions mom attempted to make a break for it - but couldn't make it to the front door. Mom also tried to talk a few of her friends into busting her out of the nursing home - which never even came close to fruition. Had either of these things become an actual real threat, I was prepared to seek guardianship. Thank goodness I never needed to.
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I would urge you to pursue conservatorship for financial purposes and guardianship for medical purposes. I started out with Power of Attorney for my mother but, in applying for Medicaid, I found that POA held no power to elicit responses from certificate holders for documentation needed to support the application. Court backing was essential.

Has the court appointed a Guardian ad Litem to represent your mother's interests? It might help if this were done. In my mother's case, the Guardian ad Litem interviewed my mother, and even though she was an attorney and not a doctor, the judge accepted her determination that my mother was pleasantly but clearly out of touch with reality. Your attorney could request that the court appoint such a guardian.

In the meantime, it is important that you document each of your mother's phone calls, the visits you make and what you observe, and any calls from neighbors or wellness checks conducted by the police. They can all provide excellent evidence to be weighed by a court.

If you are appointed as medical guardian, be sure to talk to any healthcare providers your mother sees. Let them know that you want to be informed of any care or medication changes before they are made.

In the meantime, try to rest. Try to carve out some "you" time every day. I hope you're about to regain some energy.
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I would see about becoming her power of attorney. She has to be able to understand what that is and agree to it, but it's cheap. That way you can monitor what's happening with her finances and see to her bills, etc. When I became POA for a married couple who were long time friends of mine, I started by just monitoring on-line how they spent their money so they wouldn't be scammed. As their dementia worsened, I took a more active role in managing their lives and eventually got them placed in a memory care apartment in an assisted living place. It has worked wonderfully well, but the wife only lived another 5 months there before her brain was just shutting down and she could no longer swallow. The husband happily remains there and is watched over and evaluated often. I have to sell their town home and all that money will go to his savings account. I keep records of all income and expenditures so if I had to account to someone, I would gladly do so--not one cent comes to me, even for things like mileage reimbursement. Having the AL facility see to his daily care and monitor his health frees me up to do these other things and have a life of my own, too. You should be able to get the POA forms from your state on-line. We had them notarized at their bank, and they were relieved that someone would be helping them as they witnessed their confusion about their finances. Your mom has to agree to this, of course. In my case, a distant relative took charge in getting this done so it was someone in the family. She lives in another state and is the 2nd POA. I keep her informed as things progress, so she's in the loop. Having a back-up POA is a good idea. Best of luck. I would feel very frustrated in your shoes.
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I'm currently dealing with a legal issue right now where elder fraud and exploitation happened, and I have an awful lot to say about how to protect yourself and prevent that kind of thing from happening because I've heard so many nightmare stories before. You may want to follow my discussion on 'bio dad with Alzheimer's changes beneficiary nearly a month before death'. Someone he thought he could trust ended up taking advantage of him when he had Alzheimer's. Come to find out, it wasn't him who changed the life insurance beneficiary, his POA did it (and he had no guardian). I have so much to say on how to protect yourself because I already do those things and my discussion started as a question and eventually became a discussion at some point. It has a wealth of information that may be of help to you especially if you live in Ohio. The discussion thread has other peoples opinions but is originally meant for Ohioans dealing with their first estate case after discovering the fraud of the deceased elder. The thread is about my journey through my own estate case and I periodically update it as something happens. The info is there if you can sort through the different opinions and just get to the point. My dad had Alzheimer's for years and someone ended up taking advantage of him and sadly it was someone close to him. I had no knowledge of this until I started discovering things after his death. Being aware of how common elder abuse and financial exploitation really is, I left the thread open with the intent to help others handling their first estate case and not to get into disagreements. I offer what I have to offer for specific reasons and I won't budge on that. My thread is out there if you're interested in sorting out the opinions from what's really going on
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YES...YES...YES!!! and as soon as you can...
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From my viewpoint you have a trying and expensive battle in your future should you decide to pursue it. It sounds like this is a single parent, and you want not only to look out for their best interest. Not to sound crass, but think of the outcome if you did not get guardianship.
You state first you are tired, and only have her safety in mind, and also the money issue. I would suggest forgetting all the court issues-if you think this is bad, just wait until you get guardianship and MUST perform. Take a deep breath and have a talk with their doctor, who, if the situation is as you describe, probably will suggest placement in a dementia unit. Then they will be safe and you will not have to deal with the mountains of paperwork for Medicare/medicaid. The money will be spent so that will not be an issue trying to save it. You can enjoy life and your loved one with much less stress than you have now. Best of luck to you whatever your decision.
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MI owl, thanks for sharing this story. The issue of guardianship comes up a lot. Many of us may be facing similar struggles. Thanks for the in the trenches report. Good luck to you. It sounds like a tough time.
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Yes, you definitely need guardianship!..i had to hire a lawyer, my father has a lot of health problems, mental illness and early dementia. It's been a 3 month battle. The only way I could gain control of his accounts is become his guardian. He had a woman care giver stealing from him for years. I just found out what was going on 5 months ago and got the ball rolling with an attorney. Are you power of attorney? That could freeze her accounts. Good luck!!
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