1. WestCountryGirl

    WestCountryGirl Registered User

    Jul 27, 2016
    99
    I noticed a sudden decline in Mum's hearing and phoned her GP to find out what I should do: Nurse, GP or go to specialist hearing centre. I was advised to book a Hearing Assessment with her GP, but was about a month until earliest appointment. In less than a week Mum's hearing went from her needing me to talk loudly to needing to talk directly into her ear or just resort to writing things down, but that isn't ideal obviously as it takes ages to explain things properly and quite quickly she can forget what the conversation was originally about.

    A visit from the Community Nurse established compacted ear wax, so for a week ear drops, then syringe ears, then Hearing Assessment. I do feel a bit annoyed that the GP Surgery only offered a Hearing Assessment appointment as the Community Nurse made it clear that this would not have been able to be carried out with so much wax in the ears.

    Mum was last tested for mental capacity in February. Her memory has worsened since then, but what is of major concern to me at the moment is the impact her deafness could be having on her decision making. She has always been prone to scams and I often have to step in when I notice unusual activity on her bank account.

    Social Services are visiting her this afternoon and I think likely to carry out another assessment.

    I do feel that Mum is still capable of making many decisions for herself, but that this deafness actually means that her decision making is impacted. If Social Services do try to carry out a mental capacity assessment and Mum is not able to respond, will this mean that they would automatically deem her to no longer have capacity albeit that this could be temporary and once her hearing issues are resolved she may be tested again and mental capacity be 're-instated'.

    I do feel that during this period it would be much safer if something could be set up with the bank whereby I (as LPA) had to countersign any new transactions? Mum is fully aware of her hearing problems but embarrassed by it and therefore I think she could feel pressurised into giving money away as she doesn't want to admit that she just can't follow what's going on.
     
  2. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    488
    So sorry to hear about your mum's hearing problems. I'm deaf and prone to misunderstanding things and I know if you add dementia into the mix it makes it a whole lot worse.
    There seem to be a couple of things you might be able to do. If you are there this afternoon you can flag up the deafness to the SW when you let them in so they are aware but your mum (if she is embarrassed) doesn't know you've done it. Maybe also assure your mum that getting a little deaf is something that happens to everyone as they get older.
    The scam problem is something that will happen whether or not she is deaf. People suggest rubbing off the three numbers on the back so that she can't give her details over the phone but can still use the card to get money out etc. Do you have access to her bank account as you can then get rid of any standing orders that appear.
    As for hearing aid clinic appointments, it will be worth going to, but hearing aids may not solve your problem. You need to work hard to get your brain to adjust to them and that is often beyond people with dementia. My MiL was given aids but couldn't get on with them, as the noise frightened her and she found them very fiddly. If I lived near her I might have tried to get her to persevere, but one evening of playing hearing aid fairy wasn't enough.
     
  3. WestCountryGirl

    WestCountryGirl Registered User

    Jul 27, 2016
    99

    Your point regarding the brain adjusting to hearing aids is really interesting and not something that I had thought about, so thank you for that.

    During a mutil-agency visit last year Mum agreed to the 3 numbers being scrubbed out on the back of the card and although a few times she questioned it, when again explained she was happy. About a month ago, Mum queried the fact that she couldn't pay a bill over the phone and that she had sent a cheque (I won't go into it, but actually this bill needed querying as it was not correct and a refund was issued). Then going through paperwork (this can be anywhere around the house so can take a while to come across things), I found a letter from her bank regarding her request for a new card which then prompted me to cheque her purse and discovered the new card without the 3 numbers scrubbed out. I had to pay a bill for her anyway so went online and was unable to use either the old or the new card with her card reader. It seems as though the old card has been stopped and the new card is not activated until used with PIN in a cashpoint machine. I always ask Mum to be with me when I access her online account.

    The Social Worker has advised that he wishes to check again with Mum who she wishes to have her information shared with, so I am going to go but wait to be asked to go in. The Social Worker is fully aware of the likelihood of needing to write things down for Mum.

    I did have the LPA registered with the bank, but then a relative was with Mum and she said she didn't know what a certain payment that I had made in her branch was for and they went into the bank and the LPA was removed. The payment was completely legitimate but Mum just couldn't remember what it was for. In talks with Social Services Safeguarding I was advised that while I had the LPA registered if Mum was, for instance to give a cheque for £10,000 to Joe Bloggs that I could be held accountable so I took the decision that I wouldn't re-register the LPA until such time as Mum was no longer deemed to have capacity and in the meantime just do the best I could to monitor and support Mum with any financial matters.

    I must admit I do find it all a bit mind blowing sometimes. I asked the Social Worker how on earth I could possibly be held responsible for a cheque written by Mum while being completely unaware of this happening and the answer is that because capacity can fluctuate and if I am actively using the LPA I have to be aware of that. I then asked, given I am not trained in assessing capacity and wouldn't have been present to assess it anyway in her scenario of the £10,000 cheque how I could be expected to know this and the response was that this was just how it is.

    It is all such a massive responsibility and at times can make you feel so stressed that you wonder if the ultimate costs to yourself are worth it, but to walk away is not something you can do when you want the best for your parent.
     
  4. Rosettastone57

    Rosettastone57 Registered User

    Oct 27, 2016
    1,025
    Perhaps someone who has more experience in power of attorney can give advice here but I'm a little bit confused as to the social workers response in this situation. I had lasting power of attorney for finances over my mother-in-law . We decided that we would take away her checkbook, bank card she had no access to money whatsoever other than a minimum amount for the carers to go and buy some essentials. To avoid the issue around post especially from financial institutions going missing in her house I had the post redirected using the power of attorney.

    Regarding the hearing aid issue my mother-in-law had hearing aids bought privately. We quickly found that she was in capable of putting them in herself eventually we had to use carers to help her put her aids in. This was written in her care plan and was the first priority when the carers came in the morning otherwise she would have been completely deaf all day . Even then she found it difficult to deal with them. She would often take them out and sometimes we had the problem of trying to find them in the house.
     
  5. WestCountryGirl

    WestCountryGirl Registered User

    Jul 27, 2016
    99
    As currently Mum is still deemed to have capacity, my understanding is that I can only take financial decisions with the agreement with my Mum. My Mum believes that she is capable of running her finances and therefore I can't use the LPA to remove her cheque book etc as she definitely would not agree to this.
     
  6. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    488
    Maybe its the way the LPA was set up @WestCountryGirl? My mum was still deemed to have capacity when we set hers up but no one queried so doing things with it as she agreed that we could. This was mainly as she is partially sighted and couldn't see to do a lot of things. It probably also helps that I'm fairly relative light and the only person who would query anything is my brother and he is happy enough to agree to whatever I decide.
     
  7. WestCountryGirl

    WestCountryGirl Registered User

    Jul 27, 2016
    99
    The Financial LPA was set up so that it took immediate affect so I could act on Mum's behalf, but only with her agreement, the Health LPA is set up so that it only becomes active in the event of lack of capacity. It is fully registered with the Office of the Public Guardian who I phoned to query and they suggested that due to the deteriorating nature of Alzheimers I should look to get her agreement in writing and countersigned by a third party witness! Obviously not that practical !
     
  8. WestCountryGirl

    WestCountryGirl Registered User

    Jul 27, 2016
    99
    Update: Social Services carried out the mental capacity assessment using paper and pen as Mum was clearly struggling to understand what was being asked. They concluded that she still has the capacity to take decisions.

    Hoping the ear drops and syringing gets her back to sufficient level of hearing and in the event subsequently that hearing aids are prescribed that it will be early enough for her to adjust to them.
     
  9. Sarasa

    Sarasa Registered User

    Apr 13, 2018
    488
    That's good, though not all tests (specially the mini memory one) are conclusive. Mum was very good at those up to a few months ago, though it was obvious that she was really struggling in other areas.
    If you do go down the hearing aid route, I'd suggest not wearing back them from the clinic. It was the noise of other cars on the journey home that panicked my mother in law. Get used to them in quiet familiar environments, an hour or two at a time and then build up. Unlike glasses, hearing aids cannot totally correct hearing, my sense of sound direction is zero for instance and aids (even modern ones) do make everything sound loud and difficult to filter out the things you don't want to hear. They are brilliant if your mum can get used to them. Without mine I'd be totally stuffed.
     
  10. WestCountryGirl

    WestCountryGirl Registered User

    Jul 27, 2016
    99
    Thank you for the advice Saras. , Great tip re not wearing hearing aids home which I am sure I wouldn't have thought about. Also, due to me just getting on and doing so much, I am sure that my actions camouflage many things.
     
  11. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    1,638
    Female
    I'm glad the meeting has taken place so that is one thing off your mind.

    Re the LPA, I think the SW was over-thinking it. I registered the finance LPA for my mother and used it in tandem with her. I had online access so I could monitor what was happening, she went to the bank once a week with her carer and took out cash for shopping. For the first six months I didn't have to do anything other than monitor, but after that I had to pay her carers and buy her clothes. I never spoke to a SW on the subject so they didn't fill me with alarm about being responsible for my mother being scammed or writing a large cheque. I just fulfilled my responsibilities as best I could, while allowing my mother to continue to access her account. Obviously each case is different but it doesn't seem helpful for SS to paralyse attorneys into being unable to take action they think is necessary.
     
  12. Champers

    Champers Registered User

    Jan 3, 2019
    133
    My mother is frustrating in as much as she had hearing aids fitted last year, but won’t wear them and refuses to acknowledge she has an auditory issues. Plus, because she wouldn’t remember to change the batteries, I arranged for her carer to do it at the same time she did her medication. Mother kept hiding them and eventually told me that her gardener had come into the house and stolen them! Why someone would want to steal hearing aids that are moulded specifically for someone else hadn’t entered her logic but it made me chuckle. The downside is; when she’s having an irrational day, it’s even more frustrating to talk to her over the phone when she can’t hear properly.

    We end up having these rather challenging comments from her about how her phone isn’t working properly and what a bad line it is (it’s wirking perfectly) and when I telephone her, I usually have to call about four times before she eventually answers!
     

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