Help I'm 200 miles away, only relative and Dad suddenly needs help

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by nicky1, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. nicky1

    nicky1 Registered User

    Sep 21, 2015
    Hello I am new to the forum. Firstly just to say how useful I have found many of the recent posts I have been reading about how to sort out finances and what to do about possessions etc. Great comfort in reading all the advice thanks so much already....

    Right, Dad was diagnosed four months ago with vascular and Alzheimer's. I'd known for a long time but it took ages to get memory team to test him. He was managing fine at home, so far so good then bang, he had a bad fall 1st September. It took nine days before I heard (hospital failed to notify me and we were abroad). We got back asap and visited and he looked so frail. I'm heading down again Wednesday. He is in hospital being well cared for and headed for a community hospital when a bed is free. But the way he looks he has gone from living independently to being unable to cope at all and there is no way I can see him getting back home. He has been desperate to stay at home. My concerns are: (so many)

    Power of Attorney - he has stubbornly refused all this time. Ironically he was due to meet with solicitor as he finally was coming round to it - but he had the fall two days before. I am pursing this and hope to get this even with him in hospital. I've been trying for two years but dad thinks it is a con. (I know better). I've tried all sorts of reasoning. I think he agrees now but so scared it is too late....

    How to manage finances when I have no power and need to help sort his household bills - great stuff on the forum here to help me about third party banking and online banking so I will progress that thank you all.

    How on earth do you choose a care home? Could dad come up closer to me 'up north' or is it true you lose all your funding - I think he will be self funding anyway as he has own house with small mortgage (bless him - £43k mortgage because he paid for his own mum's care home 25 years ago and got sold a pension linked mortgage)

    The whole how to sort out the house/insurance/possessions thing once we get there - we moved in with three removal vans when I was 18 and dad has done nothing but add clobber for thirty years - but hey thanks all your other posts have given me loads of advice and I've made notes. I wasn't sure if I was able to take away a few sentimental things or if everything had to be valued but the info you have all posted is good.

    Costs - this might sound selfish, and really it isn't but I have to worry about my own budget. 200 miles each way and the relevant time off work is going to cost. Myself and my partner were both made redundant last year and because I was going through breast cancer chemo at the time I only managed to pick up zero hours contract work on minimum wage. We went from £50k income to about £10k overnight! So I have to worry about how to fund things. I am totally up for helping with being power of attorney and ensuring dad gets all the care and support he needs, but does the state expect the carer to be out of pocket or is there a way I can claim back my costs. If the state will take everything from the estate for dad, I'd just like to not have to take out a bank loan to be the administrator of that!

    Personal impact - I am totally up for sorting out everything, I can see how sad and emotional it will be but I will cope, but is there any support for someone like me who is also a little bit 'vulnerable' as I still plough through my cancer treatment and recovery.

    Sorry, that sounded like it was all about me - it isn't - it is all about BOTH me and Dad!

    I do have a lovely partner by the way so I will have physical help.
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    #2 Kevinl, Sep 21, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
    Hi Nicky, welcome to TP
    That's such an massive post in the middle of the night so there're aren't too many people around right now to say very much, I guess in the morning many more will comment. All I can say for now is it seems like you're doing this alone so you need the POA. If he has a house to sell then he'll probably be self funding so you can pick where he goes, as for getting rid of a house, frankly, you just have to be a bit ruthless, keep what matters and bin the rest.
    It does sound like it's all pretty complicated with him still having a mortgage and you not having POA so I'd get the solicitor on side, get a POA in place then make some decisions.
    The biggest thing is "but is there any support for someone like me who is also a little bit 'vulnerable' as I still plough through my cancer treatment and recovery."
    Yes there is all the 45,118 members on here me included who are all in a little way a part of your life now, we know who you are and we care (((HUGS)))
  3. IzzyJ

    IzzyJ Registered User

    Aug 23, 2015
    Hello Nicky1, I don't have the answers you need, but just wanted to say hello and welcome as well. You sound quite amazing and I do hope someone is along shortly to tell you what you need to know. Wishing you all the best, with your health as well as with your dad.
  4. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hello Nicky, you are sounding quite overwhelmed by it all - I guess that is why you are up and worrying about it at silly o'clock in the morning :(

    Did you know that you can do POA DIY? You can print off the forms that are on-line and get someone who knows him to witness it. That way you can choose your moment.
    Im afraid that I dont know any more about it as mum steadfastly refused to do POA and eventually I had to apply for Court of Protection, but I know that several people on here have managed it.

    You should not have to take out a mortgage to fund his CH. Once your dad is under the threshold limit (£23,250) he will start to have part of the CH paid for him and once he is under £14,250 he will get maximum help which should cover at least one CH in the area. You can pay top-up fees if you want him to go somewhere else, but remember that no-one is obliged to.

    This link seems to set it all out nicely
  5. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    Hi Nicky, I saw your post early this morning but didn't have chance to reply then... yes, I was up at silly-o'clock too! I can relate to pretty much all of your post, including the breast cancer, and realise that you must feel pretty overwhelmed at the moment. My dad was just about coping at home on his own when he had a fall and broke his shoulder and became very confused in hospital. That was 5 months ago. Around that time he finally accepted the fact that he wasn't safe to live at home anymore, and agreed to move into a care home, but his memory loss means that he forgets why he's there, and he yearns to go home all the time. I'm telling you this so you can see how similar our situations have been, although I'm a few months down the line so hopefully can offer some advice from a been there & done it perspective.

    POA - like your dad, my dad refused this too, to the point of sending the solicitor away. I let it slide for a year, but around Christmas set about doing it myself. The forms can be filled out online, printed off and signed by the various people. Dad was more comfortable with it this way, no strangers involved. The tricky bit was getting the signatures in the right order, but otherwise it was quite straightforward and didn't take too long to be returned with the official stamps. In the meantime, I had dad signed a letter to anyone involved in his healthcare to say that he was happy for me to discuss medical matters with them on his behalf (due to memory loss etc). This seemed to help a little with GP appointments and so on.

    Finances - I had POA in place when our crisis happened, but it still took time and a lot of effort to register it with the bank. My only advice would be that if/when your POA comes through, register it straightaway whether you need it at the time or not.

    Care Home - have a look round a few if you can, so you can get an idea of the ones that you think your dad would be more comfortable in. We rang and made appointments with some of them, and just turned up with a few others. The care home you decide on will also depend on your dad's level of need - my dad has mild to moderate vascular dementia and currently lives in a residential home. They are a small private home and can deal with dementia providing it is not disruptive to other residents. If dad's needs change in the future we already have a home ear-marked that can provide various levels of nursing care (one that is closer to me... he insisted on staying in his local area for now).

    House and contents - I'm just about to put dad's house up for sale. It's taken 5 months for me to get to this point for various reasons, but the house (like your dad's) is full of belongings. One step at a time is all I can say :). Note that buildings and contents insurance on unoccupied properties changes after 1 to 3 months, so you might want to check what exclusions there might be after that time. Council Tax is not liable on a n empty house, which is something else to bear in mind once you know what's happening. I also read that water bills are reduced, but I haven't investigated that yet. We've left the heating on low, informed the nearest neighbours who have our telephone number and I pop back there (an hour away) as often as I can, to switch lights on/off and so on.

    Costs - I have just started claiming some petrol money from my dad's account, and I'm keeping a record of it all. I'm claiming for the amount that is over and above what I would normally have spent in visiting him when he was well (my visits are further & more frequent now). Anything that relates to the house comes out of dad's money. Would your dad be able to give you immediate access to his account e.g. with his credit card? Or sign a cheque? I would think if it were documented/witnessed then that would be ok, although others might know better than me.

    Social Services - are they involved? Do you know who is dealing with your dad's case? Perhaps it would be worth getting a carer's assessment? I have found my dad's mental health team (the people who diagnosed him) to be very helpful and supportive. Or ring the Alzheimer's Society, or Age UK. Of course, you'll get lots of support and understanding on this forum too!

    Take a deep breath and remember you can only do so much. And look after yourself, you can't afford to risk your own health. Let us know how you get on :).
  6. IanDB

    IanDB Registered User

    Sep 16, 2015
    Hi Nicky
    Phew, it sounds like you've really been dropped into the deep end :(
    The best advice I can think of is to sort out one thing at a time rather than try to do it all at once.
    Power of Attorney is quite straightforward - I've filled in all the info online this afternoon & it took me about 30 minutes for both "Health & Welfare" and "Property & Financial Affairs". I won't go into detail but you will find you need at - it does take a couple of months to go through.

    In the short term, your Dad's bank should be able to give you the forms for a Third Party Mandate, which will enable you to pay bills etc from his account. When we set one up for my wife's account we only needed her signature and account number/sort code, plus a sample signature from me, and they processed it very quickly.

    Have a look on the Alzheimer's Society website ( and see if they have an office near you - they are very helpful & sympathetic, and will provide contact details for all sorts of support services.

    N.B. I've had to leave a "w" off the front of the links because I'm new to the forum & can't post links yet ;)

    Best wishes
  7. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    Hi Nicky,
    Welcome to TP. Loads of support and advice on here. I'm in a very similar situation to parents were 150 miles away when a crisis occurred and they needed care and I'm now 3 months on having moved them to residential care (near me) and having to deal with the house etc.
    It is overwhelming at times.
    If you can I would recommend that you try and move your Dad to a CH near you. The last thing you need is the pressure of a 200 mile drive to visit him. The house you can deal with in your own time but if he is ill, there is another crisis or you just need to see him it's so much easier for you to be local. I have moved my parents near me and I can honestly say that the geography doesn't matter to them. They lived in Wales an I have moved them to England...and they firmly believe they are still in Wales no matter how many times I've tried to gently explain where they are located. As long as you find a lovely CH it doesn't matter. You don't lose any entitlement to funding if you choose to move him near you....and if he is self-funding to start with then this is even easier to arrange. When he nears the threshold for SS funding it will be the LA within which the CH is situated that you will need to approach. I found my parents SW helpful with this and she clarified it all to me in writing. So if your Dad does have a SW it might be helpful to chat it through with him / her.

    There is so much to do that I've tried to make a list and tick off one thing a day or every other matter how small. I think it's the only way to manage the stress and not be too overwhelmed.

    Good luck with everything, lots of people on the boards here who know how you are feeling.
  8. Slugsta

    Slugsta Registered User

    Hi Nicky and welcome to TP.

    As you can see, I'm a newbie here myself and our journeys thus far are rather different. However, we share the anxiety we feel for our parents - and for ourselves.

    I would heartily endorse the suggestion of moving your Dad nearer to your own home if at all possible. Caring from a distance must be particularly hard and having Dad closer would also cut down some of your expenses.

    I have just done financial POA for my mum, didn't need to get a solicitor involved.I did pay her GP to sign the certificate but that was the only cost other than the actual fee for registering the POA. I think my mum should actually have been entitled to pay a reduced fee but she doesn't have the paperwork to back that up so I didn't pursue it. I do think I need to get a POA for health and welfare too but haven't broached this with her yet!

    I notice the comment previously about being entitled to pay £0 council tax if the property is empty and that is certainly worth you looking into. However, this does not apply to all councils - as we discovered when my MIL died earlier this year.The estate still has to pay the council tax until the sale has been completed :(

    You will find so much advice and support here, I am so glad you found us :)
  9. Mary's wee girl

    Mary's wee girl Registered User

    Sep 21, 2015

    I am also new to this forum and have a parent 350 miles away with mixed dementia. Over the last few months the decline has been rapid and after a few stressful incidents and trips to hospital, mum was taken in the middle of the night to a nursing home to be assessed. She no longer has capacity and will never live in her home again. This was her home for 45 years which she shared with my brother and I.

    I can appreciate how hard it is to maintain any kind of relationship with someone with dementia, when phone calls no longer work and brief visits cannot be made. I used to be able to phone my mum and chat about everything in life for hours at a time. Her visits to my home were filled with shopping trips and movie nights. She now has not visited for a year and our phone calls last no longer than a few minutes before confusion, repetition or she just hangs up. How do you keep up a bond when you can't visit to say "hi" and run a few errands to help out.

    I have run out of holidays at work and cannot do the trip in anything less than 3 days. Even then it's rushed. I need to drive (it's 6 1/2 hrs at best) as the location means I need a car when I get there. I have active young kids so leaving them for a weekend means I have to call in favours for babysitters.

    I am starting to write mum newsy letters with photos. I am not sure how these will work. I don't expect anything back from them but at least I feel I'm reaching out in some way.

    But the guilt sits on my shoulder day and night. My mum's friend has sat with her at the hospital, cleaned her house, found her lying on the bathroom floor, sat with her during GP visits and brought and cleaned her clothes. I was not able to do anything. Guilt and frustration wrecking me.

    I'm not sure how this pans out. We will need to sell her house and when I do visit I will have nowhere to stay. How will visits be then?

    So I know this sounds indulgent and as you said in your email "about me" but that's thing with this illness so often the person with it is less aware of the complications and implications going on around them. The close loved ones looking in are the ones who I think feel the most pain and sense of loss. I am sorry if this offends any one I don't mean it too. My mum is in her bubble world and for now seems happy to be looked after and hasn't a clue about whether she will get home or not. I've had the hardest 2 years of my life coping with mum's decline, getting it professionally recognised and diagnosed and treated. I hope my mum's oblivion continues but I also hope my guilt and loss subsides.

    Please get in touch if ever you feel this sense of distance and loss.
  10. nicky1

    nicky1 Registered User

    Sep 21, 2015
    Great Feedback everyone thanks so much

    Hi everyone, wow, I feel so much better now knowing I have people to talk to on here and great advice. Knowing people understand what it is like to live so far away is very very comforting, and I see others have had their own share of challenges to deal with too. I don't feel so lost and alone any more and that is brilliant.

    Update re POA - dad's solicitor was going to see him on Friday night but they moved dad to a different (community) hospital that day so had to postpone it to this coming week. If that does not work out then I will do as you all advise and go online. I can't believe the silly GP my dad uses didn't think to suggest I do it online in the first place or I would have gone down that route. Anyway, I have that as plan b now.

    I registered dad with the social services several months ago, and they sounded very interested on the phone but I have not heard a word since so I ought to chase them up - a task for tomorrow.

    I've spent four days down here in Winchcombe and am very proud of my efforts to tidy and clean dad's house so that if they can get him home at least the house is ready and safe for him. I've caught a nasty cold which is a pain so I can't visit him - which when you have come all that way specially is a real pain. Think I might put one of my cancer scarves on as a face mask and go anyway today!!! Might scare the nurses tho :D

    I'll check re insurance and council tax too - thanks for the tips. I have also learnt from reading posts that I don't need to panic about chattels - I had in mind someone coming in and swooping on the house and taking all our possessions of any value but it seems that isn't how things work.

    Does anyone know - if dad goes into care he has about £8,000 available money in savings but after that nothing till the house sells - how does that work in a home - do they set up a loan against the estate or something? Do you pay massive interest for that. The house is quite big but might take a fair while to sell. One up the road took a couple of years for some reason.:rolleyes:

    Thanks again and I'll keep in touch,
  11. nicky1

    nicky1 Registered User

    Sep 21, 2015
    Mary's distant wee girl

    Hello, thanks for writing on my post. Wow, you have a longer journey than me to see your mum. Sounds like we have had the same bump shock then!! It is really hard being so far away. I'm sat in dad's house at the moment, he's up the road in hospital, I'm full of cold, can't go to see him. £65 petrol - no result. The finances will be part of my troubles.

    I think I will feel easier about things once a decision is made - at the moment it is very 50/50 about dad coming home. So everything feels on hold. And the authorities say things like "which day will you be coming down next week" Er, hang on, 400 mile round trip - like yourself I need 3 days - one to travel, one to visit and organise things and one to travel home. So not next week, maybe the one after lets see what work says. That's the scenario isn't it!!

    It's so nice just knowing others understand. You must be up in Scotland or down in Cornwall or something. Dad's in the middle of the Cotswolds and the irony is the weather is absolutely stunning here at the moment and I have spent all of it in his bedroom cleaning and tidying. Today, I am going out in the garden to enjoy some sunshine - I need it. Take care Mary's wee girl and lets keep in touch.

  12. Pegsdaughter

    Pegsdaughter Registered User

    Oct 7, 2014
    I must admit that when speaking to any of these professionals I start by saying I live no where near my mother, Oh and self are over 70 and she has no relatives living in her area. That way they are under no illusions that stuff can happen instantly. I would also in your case point out health concerns, what about getting a letter from you doctor to SS saying mr x daughter my patient has xyz and this needs to be taken into account etc etc.

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point

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