Mum and Dad in court

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by KMH, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. KMH

    KMH Registered User

    Mar 14, 2012
    Hello there

    I don't post frequently on this Forum and feel guilty because I only come here when I need support myself. I have two elderly parents with mental health problems and no siblings. I also feel guilty because I know a lot of you do a lot more than I do. I also know that my parents' cognitive problems are mild compared to many. This is the only place though where I have found people understand and offer helpful advice. I am sorry it is a long post but for anybody who can be bothered to read it, I am asking for a view on the same thing I was in 2012 - does my dad have dementia or is he just very badly behaved?

    I started posting in 2012 because I was very concerned about my dad (now 82) bullying my mum (now 80). Although at present they have been temporarily separated since early August, when they were together bullying was severe, verbal and physical. He will pace, punch at her, kick at her, push his face into hers, scream as loudly as he can. He has always been aggressive at times but really this regular intense and disinhibited behaviour strated with the strokes. He does this to me as well, regularly telling me to 'get out of his house' and has gone through long periods when he will not speak to me on the phone. The punches and kicks mainly do not connect and seem to be intended to intimidate rather than hurt but sometimes do connect, which they will both describe as an 'accident'. However for court papers I have obtained evidence from medical, nursing and police records of five separate injuries since 2011. She loves him and tends to normalise his behaviour. He was diagnosed with small vessel disease in 2011 following two strokes, he has made a good recovery from these and also surgery for stage bowel cancer earlier on this year. He gets no treatment for mental health and has refused further assessments since a CPN assessment in January 2014 found him within the 'normal' range.

    Mum had an Addenbrookes score of 78 when last assessed so officially 'mild cognitive impairment', plus many physical problems and can barely walk - when I first posted in 2012 she was fit, well and doing everything for him. Up till August they lived together in their jointly-owned home. I live 50 miles away, work full time, get over there 2-3x a week. Dad has regularly expressed his disgust that I do so little for them.

    Mum spent three months in hospital in 2013 when she broke her pelvis in a fall and during that time she and I started talking about what was going on. I was advised and supported in this by people on here who did warn me how hard things might get. It was suggested in hospital she go into residential care but she refused, 'why should I lose my home because of what he has done?'. She was discharged with an 'enhanced' (4x a day) package of care with a remit partly to monitor domestic violence. They have substantial savings so are self-funding. These carers do all her personal care meals and laundry although when mum was first discharged dad insisted on doing everything himself so his behaviour was attributed by some to 'carer stress'. He has consistently tried to get rid of mum's carers, racially abusing and physically attacking them.

    To cut a very long story short, he has now been visited by police several times, arrested twice and charged with ABH and GBH, for cutting her hand to the tendons (defensive wound) and kicking her. Both times the charges have been dropped by the CPS because it was 'not in the public interest' to prosecute. In 2014 he spent two months living in a hostel (his choice, he could have come to me but it is 50 miles away and he did not want to). Mum would not take him to court privately at that time or provide a witness statement against him, so he came home in July. I think everybody hoped he would mend his ways, but she was getting injured again by the end of November.

    Following his cancer treatment in May this year, mum's care package was extended to include personal care, meal preparation and laundry for him. However he came out of hospital consumed with rage, proceeded to get rid of his own carers and tried to get rid of mum's. Their cleaner walked out when he screamed at her, mum argued with him about this and he kicked her and threatened to kill her, leading to the last arrest.

    When he returned home after being arrested, the Police got in touch to propose a Domestic Violence Protection Order which would keep him away for 28 days while she made her mind up about what to do. Social services agreed to temporarily house him in a sheltered flat in their home town which is due for demolition (not at all as grim as it sounds, the flats are recently refurbished and 40 years old). This time she (well, I) got a Solicitor and applied for a Non Molestation Order (supposedly preventing him from harassing her) and an Occupation Order (the important part - keeping him away from their home).

    Dad's demeanour has changed from aggressive to meek and mild (this also happened last year when he was in the hostel) and he is very open to help from me although still liable to get into rages if he does not get what he wants.

    The judge agreed to the Non Molestation order and temporarily banned him from going within 50m of their home, but adjourned the Occupation Order pending further hearings. The next one is on 9th November and dad still does not have representation. He seemingly has told the social worker he does not want to be represented. He says he is not able to use his mobile phone to call any numbers he has been given because the numbers 'do not work'.

    Dad is physically getting frailer and seems to be getting mentally more confused. Last week he got into a rage with me because while I was cleaning his flat I was not doing enough to help him find his lower dentures, which could be clearly seen in his mouth at the time. He has agreed to a new assessment at the Memory Clinic and the GP has written, I believe asking for a more specialised assessment this time. Dad's social worker seems to want me to arrange representation for him, but there is a conflict of interest as I am a witness for mum and working closely with her solicitor.

    Has anybody encountered anything remotely like this??? I am confused and exhausted. If the Occupation Order is given permanently (and the hearings will not be concluded it seems until well into 2016) dad will need somewhere to live. If it isn't, he intends to go back into their home, which I cannot contemplate. Am I doing enough for him? For her? Is this dementia, or plain abusive behaviour? We live in a privately rented house with stairs, which mum cannot manage at all and dad barely can. My husband is not prepared to have him living with us due to his behaviour and also fairly severe incontinence problems, which i think could be managed but respect my husband's view - when he visited us recently the bathroom was covered in faeces (which he did try to clean up) and he was flushing his pull-up Tena pants, which would have got furious denials if we had asked him about it but would inevitably block drains. Mum likes the area where she lives and has consistently said living closer to us would not work. Her friends who are seeing him around their home town are telling her what a terrible state he is in. They have met up once for coffee and cake and she could see that is not completely true but maybe I am biased.

    Thank you for reading to the end. I know it's unusual, and in many ways probably easier than what many of you are going through with severe dementia - but this is the only place where people don't seem to be intimidated by the sheer awfulness and grind of it. I need some wisdom please any suggestions at all.
  2. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
  3. KMH

    KMH Registered User

    Mar 14, 2012
    Hi Canary

    Yes, he has, but not for FTD. He had an assessment by a CPN in January 2014. The assessment was done at the same time as my mum's assessment and the memory clinic decided to discharge him because his cognition was good - mum was worse than him and was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment.

    The GP has recently written to the Memory Clinic to ask for another assessment but the letter will go to him directly so I hope I can make sure he gets there. But to be honest I don't have much faith in mental health professionals. In hospital in May this year the nurses requested a psych assessment and CT after a meltdown and the only feedback I got was that his CT is unchanged since 2011 and he was a 'delight' on the ward (which he might have been when the consultant was there, but certainly wasn't for the nurses!
  4. CollegeGirl

    CollegeGirl Registered User

    Jan 19, 2011
    North East England
    This sounds far from 'easier' to me, KMH - it sounds absolutely horrendous! And please don't apologise for posting when you need support; that's what the forum is for. You have your hands full, it's understandable.

    Unfortunately I don't know what to advise you - helpful, eh? - other than I think keeping your mum safe is the main priority, which you are obviously trying to do.

    When my mam was aggressive due to her dementia (and I realise your dad doesn't have a diagnosis) she was eventually sectioned for a while, which, although pretty traumatic, and not good in many ways, did at least give dad a break from the situation.

    I'm sorry not to be of much practical help but just wanted to say how much I feel for you. I think working full time, living 50 miles away, and visiting 2-3 times a week, you are doing pretty darn well as far as I'm concerned, so please take that off your guilt list.

    Do keep posting x
  5. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I do hope you can get him there and it is important that you go with him. When hubby went to a cognitive clinic appointment it specifically stated that some one who knew him well was to go with him. If it is FTD, then a lot of the diagnosis will come from a report of his behaviour.
    I hope that you will be given the opportunity to speak to the doctor on your own at some point in the appointment, but in case you are not it is a good idea to write out a list of concerns and problems (do it in bullet points to make it easier to read) and give it to the receptionist when you book in and ask for the doctor to read it before your dad is called in.
    I will also pass on a bit of advice I received here which is to sit slightly behind your dad when he sees the doctor so that when he says something that you dont agree with, or you want to communicate with the doctor without your dad seeing you can silently catch the doctors eye and nod or shake your head.
  6. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Hi KMH
    what a desperate situation for you all.
    I looked back at your previous posts and was shocked at how long this has been happening and just how abusive your father's behaviour is.
    This isn't remotely close to "badly behaved" - he is aggressively abusive - thank goodness the Police are involved.

    There may well be dementia in the mix and so I hope he goes to the Clinic - write the notes Canary suggests but send them well beforehand, the consultant needs to know what an individual case this is and just how much your father needs support. In fact, I'd push for a visit at home if this is remotely possible. A shame your solicitor can't write too, just so the consultant sees how extreme the situation is.

    To me the most important thing is that your parents are never living together again. And so the Occupation Order is vital. I really hope your solicitor is on the ball and can get this process to speed up - from what you say your mum is in very real danger from him AND from that 'normalisation' you mention, which is very much part of an abusive 'relationship'. I am so glad she seems to have reached a position where she has acted and allowed the legal authorities in BUT the meeting with him rings alarm bells. And I'm not quite sure what the friends mean - surely NOT that he would be better at home!!

    If your dad is not represented, will his position become so clear they will have to act? OR will it hold up proceedings? I would speak with your mum's solicitor, and if necessary find him another solicitor but after that step back and let them deal only with him. Nothing must allow him to charm his way back into their house.

    Have you done enough? How much more could anyone have done! And your husband is right - your home MUST remain your refuge; you cannot have your father there.

    I do wonder though - maybe you are doing too much for your dad. Maybe SS etc would be more proactive if you left him to care for himself, which clearly he cannot do. Maybe he needs to reach that crisis we so sadly hear about, and then they'll place him in care. Though I can't imagine what more must happen :( He badly needs expert help.

    I can't imagine what it must be like to be dealing with all this - so my apologies if I have written anything out of line.

    What an amazing daughter you are.
  7. KMH

    KMH Registered User

    Mar 14, 2012
    Thank you so much Shedrech, Canary and College Girl. I really appreciate the sentiment, and the advice. I don't know how receptive the Memory Clinic will be to me having any input. I tend to find mental health professionals mistrustful of families, in January 2014 before dad's last mh assessment I wrote a long email to the Memory Clinic which was not responded to in any way except to say the contents 'have been noted'.

    I am very pleased that they are now separated. They both have capacity though, so I cannot make mum do anything. If they get back together - which could happen if the Occupation Order is not given - I don't know what I will do. The judge did say at the initial hearing she needed to consider whether they could get back together 'if the right support was in place'. I have addressed that in my statement to the next hearing, saying clearly that I do not know what support could be provided further to what had already been put in place, which dad rejected and tried to dismantle by assaulting and abusing the carers.

    They have been married 55 years though and mum is very aware of his needs and a wish to make sure he is 'looked after' - even if that means putting pressure on me to do it. He is aggressive and abusive, he is also a frail old man with stage 3 cancer and looking at the leaflet, the description of 'behavioural variant' FTD fits him to a T, even down to the obsession with time keeping.

    What I have found with dad's social worker (unlike mum's, who is very good) is that if I withdraw, he tends to put subtle and not so subtle pressure on me to re-engage. He doesn't have a lot of answers about how dad should be supported, but he tends to have quite a few questions. But you have provided some thought provoking suggestions.

    Thank you, you really are the experts and the best.
  8. JayGun

    JayGun Registered User

    Jun 24, 2013
    It feels to me as if the authorities are trying to have it both ways.

    Either he's a violent man breaking the law and should be prosecuted OR he's mentally ill and this should be investigated and treated OR he's medically ill with something that causes violent behaviour as a symptom and this should be investigated and treated.

    And honestly lovely, I don't think it's your job to sort out which, let alone move him into your house.

    If they don't think it's in anyone's interest to prosecute then they need to investigate and treat. If he is unwilling then they can section him for a short while if necessary while they work out what's what.

    Clearly this state of affairs has been going on for far FAR too long and the authorities have completely dropped the ball and failed to protect your mum.

    Honestly cherub, I know he's your dad and all, but I'd be tempted to tell the emotionally blackmailing social worker that your main concern is keeping your mum safe from now on and you'll be directing all your energies towards that for the foreseeable future.
  9. KMH

    KMH Registered User

    Mar 14, 2012
    Thank you Jay Gun for that clarity. You summarised:

    Either he's a violent man breaking the law and should be prosecuted OR he's mentally ill and this should be investigated and treated OR he's medically ill with something that causes violent behaviour as a symptom and this should be investigated and treated.

    That made me think back to all the times the professionals have accused one another of 'dropping the ball'. To the GP who refused and observed 'you seem quite agitated yourself' when I begged her to arrange assessment in a secure unit on the afternoon he was last arrested, in her opinion there are 'no resources' for mental health and social services should sort it out. I had to point out to her that I was upset because my 82 year old father had been arrested - again - for assaulting my 80 year old disabled mother, that wasn't obvious to her.

    To the times social workers have said they both have capacity plus savings and a house so are completely responsible for sorting their own lives out (but could you please help him find a solicitor because he can't use the internet). His social worker has been clear that if he wants to apply for a housing association flat, I will have to complete the forms myself.

    To Refuge who have insisted to mum that personally seeking a court order is the only way forward, and have now closed the case and are providing no more support because they are presently living apart, so to Refuge it's a 'successful outcome' - I am guessing that looks better for their figures, please forgive my cynicism.

    To the police - and I think I have the most sympathy with them - who don't want to keep arresting him because it is a health and social care issue and think as you say that health services and social services are passing the buck to them.

    I think the real breakdown is with health, actually, when it is all laid out so clearly and the 'problem' is that if I can't work out whether he is mentally ill or just abusive - neither can they. And because they are not likely to be able to treat either very effectively, up till now they have declined to try, using the pretext of his personal autonomy.

    I always get the best suggestions on here. And the main one I am hearing is -

    Enough now. This has just been going on TOO long. I know that in my heart. But how to stop it?

    Thank you.
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    I would agree that this is a "passing the buck" problem.

    If you feel that the FTD symptoms fit him to a T then I would suggest that you try and push to get him to see someone who knows about FTD. My OH has a diagnosis of FTD, but it has taken several years to get it. The original diagnosis was depression and it was considered that I was the cause of it, so metaphorically shouting that I knew it was something else just made matters worse.
    Eventually I found someone who would listen to me and sent him for more detailed testing. The problem is that people who who do not know about FTD try and assess it using tools designed for ALZ/VasD, which dont pick it up until the late stages. This is why shedrech and I have have suggested that you get a letter to the consultant before he sees your dad explaining the problems and concerns. Shedrech suggested that you send the letter to the consultant so that it is there before the appointment but in my experience letters dont always get "married up" to the records in time. Perhaps a belt and braces approach - send the letter beforehand and also hand a copy of the letter to the receptionist when you book in?
    If you can find someone who will listen to you, hopefully they will ask for a neuropsychology assessment which, if it is FTD, will show deficits in the ares of executive function and language. They might also request a PET or SPEC scan if the ordinary MRI doesnt show any problem - that is how my OH was picked up.

    I do hope you can get some answers soon. As everyone is saying - this cant go on.
  11. susy

    susy Registered User

    Jul 29, 2013
    North East
    It sounds like a truly awful situation for all of you. My guess would be that your dad had this within him to start with. He then had strokes and although he physically recovered he was left with some brain damage. Most probably frontal lobe where the "off" switch is. He is incapable when he is in a comfortable situation, like home, to control his anger and aggression. It also could be a personality disorder. Now if this is diagnosed then that is rather more difficult. The reason I say that is because of the category it falls into. It's a mental illness but one that drug therapy cannot cure, psychotherapy doesn't work either therefore these people are often the ones that are falling through the net, the ones that do real damage either to themselves or others and the ones who hit the newspapers as failures in health care. This keeps happening.
    The best advice I can come up with is keep your mum protected from him. If she had full function she would probably miss his control over her (very normal in this abusive situation) but I can't say how she will continue to feel. Hopefully safe and looked after. As for your dad, a proper diagnosis could be fantastic to get him proper help and medication so well worth a go. I would hope that when the GP referred him to the memory clinic he did mention the police involvement and safeguarding issues around your mum. It would be an idea to write to the clinic yourself beforehand to inform them of this. This is not to tell tales, please don't feel that, but to fully inform the Dr of the issues that present themselves. It's often behaviour that is the most important tell of what is really going on and therefore what will help.

    Sending massive hugs to you x
  12. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Morning KMH
    Just a quick thought - I can't remember whether you have LPAs in place for both parents. Your situation is so complicated that they may be vital in the future. OR you may prefer to have others have that responsibility. BUT as the 'authorities' deem them both to have capacity, no-one could question you setting them up.
    I've wondered too - could you go to your MP? It seems that some collective 'kick' is needed. I'm hoping it will come from the judge at the Occupation Order (have you shown your solicitor all your posts on TP and the responses - maybe the judge needs to see them 'in the raw' not put into legal speak) - but no-one else has been able pull everything together.
    I'm glad others have come to give you their perspective too - so many good thoughts.
    How I wish I knew ...
    Very best wishes
  13. jan.s

    jan.s Registered User

    Sep 20, 2011
    Hi KMH
    I have little helpful advice to offer, but truly feel for you in this dreadful situation.

    Your mum needs protection, but it sounds to me like your dad needs help too, but I totally agree with your husband, that your home should remain your sanctuary.

    I agree with another poster about sitting behind Dad if you can get to see the consultant, and being able to communicate by facial expressions - I used to do that with my husband. I also used to write to the consultant ahead of any consultation, so he knew the situation from my point of view.

    Thinking of you and I hope things start to get sorted for you all.

    Jan x
  14. KMH

    KMH Registered User

    Mar 14, 2012
    Thank you Susy, Jan H and Shedrech. Shedrech, LPA is going through for mum at the moment, both kinds. She asked for this pretty much the day he moved out. I haven't discussed it with dad but it would certainly make things easier. Susy, you are right, I think it is exactly this gap between personality disorder and impaired brain function due to strokes which dad falls into.

    I will try to make sure that whoever assesses him has full information as well as specifically requesting that they eliminate FTD. They may say simply that because people with FTD live an average of x years from diagnosis, dad has had behavioural problems for too long without getting significantly worse, so that eliminates it.

    However I have had some surprising results in the past with being very specific about a suspect diagnosis. When mum was discharged from hospital in December 2013 her skin was flaking and scaling and everybody around her started to itch like crazy (including dad, which did nothing for his mood and was probably a contributory factor leading to his 2014 arrest). It was diagnosed by the GP as Psoriasis and then Cradle Cap (!) but I suspected Norwegian or crusted scabies from the start, basically from pictures on the internet which looked exactly the same and the fact it affects immunosuppressed older people in communal environments such as hospitals and nursing homes and mum was on massive steroids when she went into hospital for 3 months. Nobody wanted to believe it as it is a horrible, highly contagious condition BUT can be treated with a single dose tablet (Ivermectin, if anybody needs it) which was finally given in September 2013 after several visits to the consultant dermatologist. No more itching!!! Instantly. I think medics sometimes are reluctant to accept an unusual diagnosis (or one which implicates their hospital hygiene).

    The mental health system in the area where my parents live does not seem to welcome or have time to consider input from families, when I have tried to find out who would be assessing dad and communicate with them in advance in the past I have been left feeling as if I may as well not have bothered. But thanks to the input from here I will try to gather energy for another effort.

    The MP may be worth a try. There are arguments for and against which I can't go into as it would be a dead giveaway to where they live for anybody local to there and I would hate for their confidentiality to be compromised as I go into so much detail on here. The solicitor has suggested it but basically I see it as a big gun which i would only use if I was actually in a battle with the local authority - at the moment we are going to court on the same side and mum's social worker has produced a fantastic statement explaining why dad can't live with mum any more, I want to keep them as allies for as long as I can.

    Thank you so much for input, you are just so helpful at the critical points.
  15. grove

    grove Registered User

    Aug 24, 2010
    North Yorkshire
    So Sorry ..............

    Morning KMH & sorry you are having too cope with such a awful situation . :( So glad tho you have good support and advice from other's

    Thinking of you all especially you & your Mum

    Sending lots of support , love. And Big.Hugs

    Lots of. Love Grove. X X x

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