Am being cut out of mum's life and decision making - can I do anything?

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by blackvelevt, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. blackvelevt

    blackvelevt Registered User

    Sep 6, 2015
    10
    My mother, who is 85 years old, was diagnosed with dementia in August of this year. My work gives me summers off, so I had been taking her to appointments and was with her when she got the diagnosis; I have two younger siblings, who up until this point had visited once or twice a year and would call me constantly to tell me that "we" needed to be doing more to help mum. Since the diagnosis, however, they have steamed in and taken over everything; case in point, I arrived at mum's place in October for a visit and found them both there - about to take mum to look at a day centre that they had signed her up for, along with having hired carers to come in every day. I have also found out, in conversation with mum, that she has been put on medication for her Alzheimer's, and that she is about to undergo surgery for a medical issue - none of which I had been told about by my siblings, who both have contact details for me. Mum has a lasting power of attorney in place, and all three of us are supposed to be involved in any decisions about her care, but this is clearly not happening. The final straw came last night when I called her and was told that I couldn't go and see her at Christmas because she was going to my sister's home. I am obviously being cut out of her life and any decision making about her care, and I want to know if there is anything legal that I can do. Should add that I have no money to hire representation for myself.
     
  2. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    Hi

    I just looked up your earlier post which explained a little more about the situation. It's hard to respond when we don't know the background.

    You don't seem to live locally to your mum but spend the whole of your summer holidays with her, is that right? What about the rest of the year? How much are you able to be involved in her day to day care then?
     
  3. blackvelevt

    blackvelevt Registered User

    Sep 6, 2015
    10
    #3 blackvelevt, Dec 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2015
    I work in a boarding school, so I am able to go and see mum during school holidays and half term breaks; I live in Somerset, which is seven hours by public transport from where mum lives. (I don't drive) What is upsetting me is the way I have not been given any input into mum's care plan; I had always told her that I would give up my job and move in order to look after her if she became incapable of looking after herself, because I think that is a far better plan than sitting her in a day centre where she will just sleep all day.

    I don't like the idea of taking legal advice, because it's something I know nothing about, but my mum is all I have left and I will not allow my siblings to cut me out of her life for no reason.
     
  4. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    #4 Chemmy, Dec 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2015
    So have you recently offered to give up your job and move back as her carer? What was your siblings response?
     
  5. blackvelevt

    blackvelevt Registered User

    Sep 6, 2015
    10
    I didn't get the chance to. They had put this dreadful package in place before I was even told about it, and when I questioned why they had done this I was told to stop causing a fight - and now they are making it impossible for me to even see mum at all, which is why I feel I need to go down the legal route.
     
  6. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,542
    Female
    London
    Have you got both LPAs or just the financial one? Are you supposed to act jointly or jointly and severally? I understand your frustration about not being kept in the loop but I don't think legal action against your siblings should be your first choice. Day Centre, carers, medication - none of this is bad and shows they are not just twiddling their thumbs, but they are actually trying to get her the support she needs. I don't know how close you are to them but I would try a calm, non-accusatory conversation with them first.

    As for your opinion about Day Centres and carers, I can only assume you haven't been to one or met any carers yet. OH goes to a great Day Centre that specialises in dementia care, they do a lot of activities with him and he loves going there. As for carers, you can get good or bad ones, but if you read the board you'll see that many have found excellent carers for their loved ones. Where someone is originated really doesn't matter. They do a hard, thankless and underpaid job, which many people who have English as their mother tongue wouldn't want to go into.
     
  7. blackvelevt

    blackvelevt Registered User

    Sep 6, 2015
    10
    Since politely asking them why I had not been asked for any input when they were putting the care package together got me told to stop causing a fight, I don't feel that my siblings and I are going to be able to have a calm conversation about any of this. I work six days a week during term time because I make minimum wage and need as many hours as I can, whereas my siblings have all their weekends free and can see mum whenever they want - so the fact that one of them has chosen to take mum away for Christmas in the knowledge that it will mean I can't see her over what may well be her last festive season should pretty much tell you what sort of people I am dealing with.

    I have a neighbour who is a retired solicitor and volunteers for the Citizens Advice Bureau, so I think i will pay him a visit and see what he feels my options are.
     
  8. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    Going to a day centre and having carers coming in is a practical solution for the day to day care requirements for many families.

    Giving up your job to care for your mother might seem feasible as a first consideration, but you would have no income, other than carer's allowance, and there could be issues over what would happen if the house needed to be sold (assuming she owns it) to finance her care later down the line. Several TP members have run into difficulties with that.

    Maybe you should consider give the new arrangements a chance before rocking the boat?
     
  9. bemused1

    bemused1 Registered User

    Mar 4, 2012
    3,403
    Well said Beate.
     
  10. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    11,542
    Female
    London
    OH started going to a Day Centre while I was working full-time. He is still going even though my circumstances have changed. No one can care 24/7 and I am both grateful for the respite this offers me plus the fact it gives him a full life. I wouldn't have the energy to do all the stuff they are doing! He gets good meals, they do singing, dancing, gardening, armchair exercise, cooking, baking, bingo, quizzes, games, painting, bowling and going to a local city farm with him. I went to their Christmas Party on Friday, and it was a joyous affair with lots of music, laughter and food. Those lovely caring people are a life saver to us. Full-time caring for someone is hard, I should know. You will still need help and support, and if it's only emotional. OH also gets sitting service from Age UK, and they take him out on long walks at the weekend while I do the shopping, because the week is spent dealing with officialdom, chasing things, organising appointments and going to carers meetings.
     
  11. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    1,249
    By all means get some informal, and free, legal advice, but if your siblings can act without consulting you (that's the jointly and severally bit) then you'd have to go down the path of showing that they're not acting in your mum's best interests, and to be honest I don't think you have much chance of winning any legal battles on that score.

    Your best bet is trying to build some bridges. Maybe take a deep breath, pick up the phone and start with "we all want the best for mum... ". If you don't get anywhere, at least you'll know you tried.

    Lastly, if you mum still has capacity and she's unhappy with what's going on, then maybe you can discuss with her revoking the LPA and setting up afresh with just you in place. But I say that with caution because this could be very distressing for her, especially if the other two decide they don't like it.

    It's a difficult situation for you for sure. Try to focus on what your mum needs rather than your own hurt feelings. Easier said than done, I know..
     
  12. blackvelevt

    blackvelevt Registered User

    Sep 6, 2015
    10
    It's not so much "hurt feelings" as the fact that they have no right to cut me out of mum's life when I have done nothing to deserve that. I may be able to do nothing about the fact that she is being looked after by strangers, but mum is all I have and I want to spend time with her while she still knows who I am - and if that counts as rocking the boat, then I'm guilty as charged.
     
  13. Delphie

    Delphie Registered User

    Dec 14, 2011
    1,249
    I understand. That's why I think building bridges is your best bet. Even if you haven't done anything wrong, I doubt you'll get what you want via the legal route.
     
  14. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    7,593
    Yorkshire
    I'm struggling to see why any of this isn't in your mum's best interests.

    She's going to another daughter's house for Christmas. What's so odd about that? I never used to see my parents or inlaws every Christmas either - families take turns.

    Presumably you'll still be able to carry on visiting her during your future holidays from work?
     
  15. blackvelevt

    blackvelevt Registered User

    Sep 6, 2015
    10
    My siblings never took turns after my father passed away. I have spent the last eight Christmases with mum because I love her and didn't want her to be by herself over the holidays - and the fact that my brother and sister are compensating for this since her diagnosis by cutting me off from mum and making decisions regarding her care without involving me is not something I am prepared to put up with.
     
  16. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,655
    Female
    Scotland
    I have come late to this thread and like Chemmy can only see good sense in what your sisters are doing. Those of us further down this line appreciate day centres and carers and many would love their relatives to step up to the plate as your sisters are doing. This is not war you are engaged in but an attempt to do the best for your Mum. She is the one who counts. Don't alienate your sisters, you might need them too some day.
     
  17. blackvelevt

    blackvelevt Registered User

    Sep 6, 2015
    10
    My brother and sister alienated *me* the moment they made these decisions without getting my input, despite the fact that they had my email address and phone number and could easily have contacted me. The three of us received an email from mum's solicitor after her diagnosis, saying that he had talked to mum and that she wanted all three of us to be involved in any decisions regarding her care; mum is already having trouble remembering what day it is, so she will not remember having said this, but my siblings are clearly disregarding her wishes already. I am not a bad person, and will not allow them to make me out as one.
     
  18. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,642
    Female
    South coast
    Gosh, I have just found this thread and there seems to have been quite a change since your first post

    "I knew mum's memory had been getting worse, but put it down to her age - she is 85 1/2 - so the diagnosis came as a complete shock. I have two younger siblings who do nothing to help, although they live closer to mum than I do; because I am unmarried and childless, they are trying to slot me into the role of unpaid carer. (she is still living alone, although I am not sure how much longer that will last) I have just spent two months' summer break (I work in a school) being with her every day, and I was the one who went with her to her appointment with the memory nurse when the diagnosis was given; and I spent two weeks after that listening to mum getting tearful and constantly telling me that she was useless. My mother is all I have left, and all my brother wanted to know was whether she was still capable of managing her finances - because he wants to get his hands on her house and sell it from under her. The few friends I have told about this have offered to pray for my mum, which isn't any help - because if there was a god, he would not have allowed this to happen to her in the first place.

    Sorry if this is too much of a rant, but I love my mum and I can't do anything to help her. "

    Did you say any of this lot to your sisters - especially the bits that I have put into bold?
     
  19. blackvelevt

    blackvelevt Registered User

    Sep 6, 2015
    10
    I have avoided my siblings for longer than I can remember; I have only spoken to them when they have happened to be at mum's while I have been there, because I don't want her upset by us arguing.

    I am at a loss as to why they have done all this. I was literally walking back to mum's house from the farm shop at the end of October, and my brother's car pulled up with mum and my sister in the back - "We're taking mum to look at the day centre where we've registered her", and that was it. I went back inside mum's house, and there was the agreement with the care agency sitting on the kitchen counter; I was just in total shock that they did all this without involving me in any way, and I honestly don't think I can ever forgive them for it.
     
  20. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    9,642
    Female
    South coast
    So Im wondering what happened to suddenly catapault your sisters from doing nothing (and assuming that you were acting as an unpaid carer and sorting everything out) to being involved in a care package. It wont have happened overnight - social services will have been involved (and they are notorious for refusing care) and they would have had to have a referral from GP/Hospital/etc. Quite possibly your sisters were contacted by someone in authority because they were closer and/or could get there at a time when you couldnt. Problems due to dementia can happen very suddenly - often a care package is triggered by a crisis.

    I honestly think, like others, that your only way forward is to build bridges and find out what has been happening. If you also have POA for health and welfare you may be able to contact her Social Worker to get an idea of the background.
     

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