As discussed in our previous Guardianship blogs, when your loved one is no longer able to care for their own daily activities or finances and they are no longer able and/or willing to seek help from third-parties to manage their affairs, you may need to seek Guardianship. Guardianship grants you the legal authority to help care for your loved one so they won't suffer harm. Without that legal authority, you cannot do anything on your loved one's behalf.
Guardianship proceedings are, in theory, less litigious than other court proceedings: in general, all of the parties in a Guardianship hearing are looking out for the best interest of the person who may need a Guardian. However, all of the parties involved don't always have the same idea of what course of action would be in that person's best interest.
In New York State, Guardians are only necessary when a person needs assistance with their Activities of Daily Living (managing their personal and financial affairs) and that person either consents to the Guardian being appointed, or the court finds them incapacitated and incapable of caring for themselves or consenting to the Guardian. Incapacity is only found when a person is unable or unwilling to provide for their own needs, when that person also cannot adequately understand or appreciate their inability to provide for those needs, and that person is likely to suffer harm as a result of being unable or unwilling to tend to those needs.
Everyone ages. It's an inescapable truth of life. From the moment we are born to the moment we die, we are aging. Some people age with more ease than others, living relatively healthy lives well into their nineties, and some age with more difficulty, developing illnesses, mobility issues, and/or various physical limitations that prevent them from being able to care for themselves on their own any longer.