What do guardians do?
Guardians can do the following:
• Medical Treatment: A guardian may manage
personal, medical and mental health services
for the person including but not limited to
medical treatment, medications, and endof
• Health and Wellness: A guardian may consent
to and monitor non-medical services such
as counseling, education, service groups, or
• Confidential Information: A guardian may
release and/ or obtain confidential information
about the person.
• Property Management: A guardian manages
a person’s property including any financial
transactions with said property, if approved
through the courts. A guardian may also
select residential living facilities for the ward,
HOW CAN I KNOW IF MY FAMILY
MEMBER NEEDS A GUARDIAN?
Guardianship options are meant for those
individuals who have a complete loss of capacity,
and there must not be a Power of Attorney
or Health Care Surrogate already in place. Loss
of capacity is a legal process determined by
the court. However, there are warning signs
that can assist a family when determining the
capacity of their loved one. Any one sign may
not be cause for alarm, but should a loved one
have multiple signs or if the signs are increasing
or become more intense, then a family should
consider further investigation.
• Forgetfulness –As we age, our memory
becomes less quick as it might have been.
However, ongoing forgetfulness is also an
early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease
and other old age-related dementia diseases.
• Physical injuries – The elderly can be more
susceptible to physical injuries because of
health changes and general aging. However,
if you notice unexplained, consistent injuries,
then this could be signs of a deeper issue such
as medical changes, medication reactions,
memory loss, or other physical impairments.
• Unexplained physical deterioration – If a family
member’s appearance begins to worsen
rapidly, and without explanation, again,
there could be more issues at play. Perhaps
your loved one is not eating well, not taking
medications or has a physical ailment that has
• Unpaid bills – If your loved one has been handling
their financial matters and you begin to
notice letters or phone calls from collection
agencies, services being shut off or even an
increase in purchases from different entities,
this could be a sign that something is wrong.
• Missed appointments – A missed appointment
here or there is not usually cause for
alarm. If your family member starts missing
several doctor appointments, or a regular
bridge game though, something more could
• Mood swings / Depression – As with all things
in life, everyone handles things in different
ways. If your loved one starts to show signs
of drastic mood changes including periods of
extreme joy or extreme sadness, then there
could be some deeper mental health issues
challenging their way of life.
The care and management of our loved
ones is an extremely difficult process and often
requires hard decisions to be made. Resources
and assistance exists throughout the state
to ensure that families and loved ones have
the tools they need to make informed and
complete decisions. For more information on
guardianship please visit https://www.floridaguardians.