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Does an Older Adult Need a Guardian to Use Home Care?


When an older adult reaches a point in their lives where they need some help at home, it can be difficult to know where to turn. One option for seniors is to use an agency to hire home care. While this is a great option for nearly anyone, many people don’t know a lot about how home care works. A question people considering home care often have is, “Is a guardian needed to use home care?” In this post, we’ll talk about what a guardian is and who is eligible to use home care.

What is a guardian?

A guardian for a senior is someone who has been given legal rights to care for an older adult who is unable to care for themselves. You may also hear guardianship referred to as conservatorship. A guardianship may be needed when an older adult can no longer manage some of the following tasks:

  • Remembering to take medications.
  • Taking care of personal hygiene.
  • Managing finances.

There is a legal process for setting up a guardianship. How to go about setting up a guardianship and who is eligible to become a guardian varies by state. Once a person is appointed guardian to an older adult, they become fully responsible for the person’s care and must put the person’s care first. Some of their responsibilities are:

  • Deciding where the older adult will live.
  • What kind of care is needed to keep the senior healthy.
  • Budgeting the person’s money and seeing to their finances.
  • Setting up recreational activities and social interactions for the older adult.

Who can use home care?

Anyone! An older adult does not need to have a legal guardian to use home care. In fact, an older adult who would like a little extra help around the home can contact an agency themselves to hire a home care provider. Or, a family caregiver who does not have guardianship can assist their aging family member to contact an agency and set up home care.

There are several situations in which an older adult will benefit from home care, such as:

  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease: Home care can keep a senior with cognitive problems safe at home while their family caregivers work, go to appointments, run errands, or attend to other responsibilities.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis pain can make it difficult for an older adult to care for themselves and their homes. They may have trouble cleaning, cooking, or driving. All of these are things a home care provider can do for them.
  • Bedridden or Wheelchair Bound: Older adults who are confined to bed or a wheelchair can benefit from home care. A home care provider can see to their personal hygiene needs, cook for them and assist them to eat, and provide companionship.
  • Frail Seniors: Seniors who are frail may feel unsafe in their homes. They may worry about falling and hurting themselves or that certain tasks could lead to injury. Knowing that home care will be visiting to check on them and help with things around the house can make them feel more comfortable and safe in their homes.

Home care is available to anyone who needs it. It can even be used in combination with hospice services for seniors who are terminally ill. Home care agencies offer flexible scheduling to meet the needs of your aging relative.

About Linda Kunicki, CMP, Marketing Director

linda-kunicki-brightstar-careLinda has been with BrightStar Care of Chicago and BrightStar Care of La Grange since 2013. Her background includes a lengthy tenure in health care as well as a strong business background. While her primary focus has been management, training and marketing, Linda has taken on and succeeded at roles in Sales, Human Resources, and Project Management. Every position she’s had has allowed her to fulfil her passion to service others from children to seniors, which gives her joy each day. Her experience has led her to being on the board of the Chicago Chapter of the Case Management Society of America for multiple terms and serving on many committees for Aging Care Connections and local Health and Wellness groups.

Linda’s pathway to BrightStar began as being the caregiver for her mother and grandmother. Her personal experience has given her perspective into the growing need for high quality care in our society, from pediatrics to senior citizens. And she takes great pride in the Gold Seal of the Joint Commission Accreditation earned by BrightStar. It confirms her decision to make this company her employer of choice.

Linda has also owned Shetland Sheepdogs most of her life. For many years, she has been involved in activities with Shelties that have guided her to earn championship and performance titles on many of her own dogs and help others do the same.

Linda’s favorite quote:

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Zigler

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring in-home care in Chicago, IL, or the La Grange, IL areas, please contact the caring staff at BrightStar Care Chicago. Call today: 312-382-8888 or 708-551-2500