As people age, it is possible for them to experience cognitive decline. In some cases, people develop conditions like Alzheimer’s disease that affect their ability to function safely without support from others. Sometimes, age itself will simply impact their memory enough to make independent living much more difficult.

Many older adults are fiercely protective of their sense of independence. You don’t want to make your loved one feel like they can’t take care of themselves. However, you also don’t want to leave them vulnerable to financial mishaps or other preventable issues because they can no longer manage their own finances.

In situations where a loved one won’t acknowledge their diminishing capacity to care for themselves, you may have to ask the state to intervene. Seeking a guardianship over an aging parent or other loved one isn’t always easy, but it may be the right thing to do.

A guardianship is a form of protection — not a punishment. Older people served with notice of a guardianship hearing may feel insulted and angry because they don’t want their loved ones to question their mental acuity or independence. However, it is possible for you to respect your loved one and still want to take steps to protect them.

A guardianship can give you the authority to oversee financial transactions and legal issues that your loved one may face. From ensuring that they file and pay their taxes to making sure the lights stay on, there are many ways in which a guardian can protect a vulnerable older adult.

If your loved one has begun forgetting things, is experiencing bouts of intense confusion or has struggled with issues due to a lack of organization in their finances, it may be time to step up and seek a guardianship as a way to protect them and their financial stability.