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How to Get Power of Attorney for Elderly Parents

Mom with dementia and daughter

We’ve devoted a good portion of our blog to ways people – particularly senior citizens – can be safer and happier in their homes.

Products like stair lifts and platform lifts. Tips for aging in place. Ways to stay active during retirement.

However, some issues involving senior citizens are too complex to solve by just buying a product. A stair lift can help prevent falls, but what do you the issue facing your parent is mental rather than physical?

If your mom or dad is in a position where they can no longer make decisions for themselves – often due to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease – having a power of attorney can help you make important medical and financial decisions on their behalf.

In this week’s blog post, we’ll look at how to get power of attorney for elderly parents to help them live as safely and happily as possible.

How to get power of attorney for elderly parents

Power of Attorney CourtThis isn’t something that can be done after the fact. In order for your parent to grant you power of attorney, they need to show in court that they are of sound mind and recognize the types of decisions you’ll be making for them.

If your parents are already mentally incapacitated but had set up a living will, this will have given you – or another trusted friend or family member – power of attorney. In this case, you don’t need to take any further action.

But let’s say your parent has been diagnosed with dementia or is dealing with an illness that leaves them unable to communicate and hasn’t created a living will. What do you do then?

In cases like these, family members must go to court to get an adult guardianship, which allows the designated guardian to make financial and medical decisions for the parent (or to use legal terminology, “the ward.)

Some of the duties of the guardian might include:

  • Determining where the ward will live and managing their property
  • Giving consent for medical treatments
  • Decide who assets will be invested and paying bills
  • Making end-of-life decisions
  • Reporting back to the court

What steps do I need to take to get power of attorney?

Woman Helping Senior Neighbor With PaperworkStart by talking with your parents to see what kind of estate planning efforts they might have made. Keep in mind that getting power of attorney isn’t a small job. You’ll need to make crucial medical and financial decisions.

You can download power of attorney forms and fill them out with your parents. They may wish to have two separate powers of attorney, one for medical issues and one for financial matters. You might want to consult with an attorney who handles elder law issues to help you better understand the issues.

Review the documents with your parents, and then head to your local notary’s office. After you and your parents sign the document, have them notarized.

A few other things to think about as you consider how to get power of attorney for elderly parents:

  • The law allows people who grant power of attorney to change the arrangement at any time, and to revoke their agent’s status, as long as they can show they are of sound mind.
  • Although the goal of having a power of attorney is the same everywhere, the requirements for setting them up can vary from state to state. Be sure you understand your state’s guidelines before creating a power of attorney
  • Macro of a living will documentIf your parents have a living will, you can still establish a health care power of attorney. Living wills typically deal with deathbed issues, but may not cover more practical, day-to-day medical treatments the way a healthcare power of attorney would.

At Pennsylvania Stairlifts, we know how important it is for adult children to know that their parents are safe and happy.

That’s why we’ve built our business around products designed to let people age in place, installing stair lifts, platform lifts and other devices that make homes more accessible and inviting. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.

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