Estate Planning For Peace Of Mind

How to recognize a Texas older family member’s diminished capacity

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2022 | Elder Law, Guardianship |

As people age, many find themselves isolated and living alone. Family members may live far away. Without a caring community around them, no one may notice that they are falling into a mental or physical decline. Unscrupulous predators may attempt to assume control of their assets. Here are some warning signs that an older person may need your help in Texas.

Cognitive decline

It’s common for people to exhibit diminished abilities as they reach their senior years. For example, they may occasionally forget where they put the car keys or how to spell a word. That’s normal and isn’t cause for concern. Other symptoms, however, are more severe and may indicate the onset of dementia and the need for intervention by family members or community health resources. Be on the alert for the following warning signs:

  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Undernourished or dehydrated
  • Unkempt living space
  • Uncharacteristic drinking or drug use
  • Frequent falling

Staying in touch through phone calls helps detect some issues, but in-person visits are best.


The elderly are prime targets for scammers and individuals seeking undue influence over their financial assets. If they start to talk about some unknown relative requesting money or begin singing the praises of a new friend who volunteered to manage their finances, it may be time for the family to step in and act.

Protecting the vulnerable

Assuming guardianship for a loved one with diminished capacity is one course of action, but it is not a task to take lightly. In Texas, the process involves applying with the court, participating in a hearing before a judge, and having that judge appoint a guardian. Texas elder law practitioners focus on complex issues, including familiarity with the various degrees of guardianship. Another solution is relocating an older person to an assisted-living facility where seniors live in a friendly, protected environment, free from mundane worries.

If you know someone who is elderly and starting to fail, establish regular contact with them so that you can step in and help if needed.