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Understanding Conservatorship Warning Signs and Support Resources

Updated: May 8

Over the past months, we have covered the basics of conservatorship, guardianship, the warning signs, and the consequences of inaction. In this blog, we will dive deeper into conservatorship warning signs and support resources you should explore to help a loved one in need.

a health care aide reads a book to an elderly woman

Common Thoughts

"I don't want to take away his freedom. It would kill him."

"She's not going to love me anymore. I would never live this down."

"Everyone is going to think I'm an awful daughter. And I'd feel like an awful daughter."

"He just bought a second tractor that we don't need. I don't know what to do anymore."

"Maybe it will get better, Maybe she is just going through a rough patch."

"I'm so afraid that he's going to hurt himself, one of the kids, or someone else."

If you have experienced any of the following thoughts when considering a loved one's health, know that you are not alone. Today, many families feel overwhelmed or even a sense of shame when considering a conservator or guardian. Unfortunately, these thoughts may cause us to miss some key warning signs that additional help or support is needed.

a young woman flips through a sheet music book with an elderly woman

Conditions and Symptoms

If you have a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse, mental illness, or dementia and is unable to make or communicate decisions, click here to learn more about conservatorship and how to make an appointment for a pre-screening.


  • Memory Loss

  • Confusion

  • Mood swings

  • Apathy

  • Stress

  • And much more

Substance Abuse

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Stress

  • Risky behavior

  • And much more

Mental Conditions

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • PTSD

  • Bipolar disorder

  • And much more

a young man and an elderly woman playing with squeeze balls

Importance of Early Intervention

Often, families take a 'do no Harm' approach when it appears that a loved one's condition is deteriorating.

Some families hope that they will 'get better soon' or 'that's it just a phase,' and don't act because they fear causing friction. However, this 'do no harm' approach doesn't acknowledge the important role they can play. Sometimes intervention and changes in medical treatment plans can help, but it can only happen with increased family involvement. Those struggling with substance abuse, mental illness, and dementia are especially at risk. For examples of situations that call for a conservatorship, click here.

a smiling young girl and grandmother share a candid laugh for the camera

Additional Support Resources

Acknowledging and dealing with conservatorship warning signs can seem overwhelming, but it should be the last and not the first option. Below are some steps and support resources that families can take before considering a conservatorship.

● Be prepared ahead of time! Use self-help tools such as a home safety checklist to create a safer environment and a caregiver responsibility list to keep a schedule and assign tasks. Have important documents and paperwork handy, such as a list of their doctors, current medication, and diagnostic information. Having this will increase crisis response time in an emergency, and possibly, better outcomes.

● Increase family involvement, so the responsibility doesn't fall on one person. Proactively meet with their care team and ask them to revisit the current treatment plan. If the issue is substance abuse, research, and conduct an intervention.

a loving daughter embraces her elderly mother in a wheelchair

Next Steps

Life Care Wellness is here to help you and your loved one every step of the way. Our conservatorship/guardianship pre-screening process will give you the diagnosis you need to take your next steps. If the diagnosis calls for conservatorship or guardianship, we are staffed to shepherd you through the journey and provide those services. To make an appointment or learn more click here.

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