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How to talk to your disabled parents about guardianship

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2023 | Elder Law

A report conducted by ABC7 found that over 108,000 people in the Tri-State area live under guardianship. Discussing guardianship with disabled parents can be a delicate subject. It involves sensitive topics like independence, decision-making and future planning, making the conversation challenging yet necessary.

For many adult children, the thought of initiating this discussion brings a mix of emotions. They may feel uneasy about the idea of taking on a decision-making role for their parents. However, when parents face disabilities that impair their ability to manage their own affairs, considering guardianship is an important step. This conversation requires empathy, respect and understanding.

Choose the right time and setting

Select a comfortable and private setting for the conversation, ensuring there are no distractions. The right time is equally important; avoid times of stress or fatigue.

Express your concerns gently

Start the conversation by expressing your love and concern for their well-being. Make it clear that the discussion is about ensuring that you understand their needs and preferences so that you can respect them.

Explain the concept clearly

Explain what guardianship means in a straightforward manner. Emphasize that it is about providing support and making decisions in areas where they may need assistance.

Discuss the types of guardianship

There are different types of guardianship in New York, such as guardianship over personal needs or property management. Discuss which type might be appropriate considering their specific needs and situation.

Listen to their concerns

It is important to listen to their concerns and feelings about the idea of guardianship. Understanding their perspective is necessary for a mutually agreeable solution, and so they do not feel pushed or coerced into any decisions.

Explore alternatives together

Discuss any alternatives to guardianship that might be available. This might include powers of attorney, health care proxies or other supportive arrangements.

By knowing how to approach the conversation, you can help make the process less daunting and more collaborative. Remember, this is about providing the best possible care and support for your parents in their time of need.