Can I have my elderly parent involuntarily committed?

Q: One of my elderly parents has randomly run away in the middle of the night and may or may not still be in this state. This parent has shown to have signs of paranoid Schizophrenia and has even driven their vehicle recklessly knowing full well that it has not been properly maintained. I feel by having this parent involuntarily committed they can receive the care they deserve, and also apply for Social Security Disability if they are found to have a disability in the process of being examined. My other parent has told me I have no right to have that other person involuntarily committed even though I am that person’s son, and I’m also above 21+. What rights do I have as their son? What can I do to have my elderly parent involuntarily committed so they can receive the help they are trying to avoid. In the end they may stay or go in our relationship, but the end game goal is to help them the best I can instead of letting them put others at risk. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: You can file for a 302 under the Mental Health Act however, your parent would need to be located first. The process is not difficult, but whether a delegate will agree that your parent is a danger to themselves or others and commit them, is another question. I sense that you are younger, and your other parent may have a reason for not wanting to commit this person. I think you should consult with an elder law attorney who handles mental health commitments and guardianships for an opinion. There are more facts needed to be known and it may be worth the consultation before you pull the trigger on this.


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