How to Get Power of Attorney for a Parent with Dementia: A Step-By-Step Guide

When your parent has dementia, someone in the family needs to take care of their important matters.

But to do this, they must have special permission called “Power of Attorney.”

This permission is usually automatic for spouses but needs approval for others, like adult children.

It might seem hard, especially when you’re still dealing with the diagnosis.

But it’s really important to sort this out early on, so you know and can plan for what your parent wants in the future.

This article will help you understand how to get Power of Attorney for a parent with dementia and make the process easier.

An Image of a Elderly Parent with Dementia Signing a Power of Attorney for their Child
How to Get a Power of Attorney for a Parent With Dementia. Photo Source (Freepik)

What is Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is like a special legal document that lets one person make choices for another, like about health or money.

There are different kinds, but for older adults, the usual one is called a durable power of attorney.

Who Can Have Power of Attorney?

Choosing who gets power of attorney is an important decision.

The chosen person called the agent, should be a trustworthy adult ready to handle tough choices about health and money for the older adult.

Families sometimes divide these duties into two parts—health decisions and money decisions—so that not just one person has to make all the choices.

Power of Attorney Delegation — Early Stage Dementia

It’s a good idea for older adults to pick someone to make decisions for them before any health problems, like dementia.

If your loved one hasn’t done this but has dementia, you can still do it together.

First, talk to a lawyer who knows about laws for older people.

They can help you understand what to do.

Usually, someone with dementia can choose a decision-maker if they understand what the power of attorney is about and agree to it.

Many seniors with early dementia can do this.

Power of Attorney Delegation — Mid- to Late-Stage Dementia

If there’s no one chosen to make decisions, and the older adult is deep into the disease, things can get a bit complicated.

If they can’t understand the power of attorney document, the family might need help from the local court.

A judge can look at the situation and give someone in the family (or a person chosen by the court) the job of conservator.

A conservator can decide about the person’s money.

A guardianship lets the person chosen by the court make decisions about the person’s health.

It might be a bit of a hassle, but it’s needed to stand up for your loved one and what they want.

Dementia makes things more complicated for older adults and their families.

Conclusion

In short, it’s really important to get power of attorney early for a parent with dementia.

Choose someone you trust for health and money decisions.

As dementia gets worse, it might get a bit complicated, but it’s crucial to stand up for your loved one’s wishes.

Dementia makes things more complicated for families, but taking these steps helps make things a bit easier.

Further Reading!