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Mum showing signs of Dementia and also wants to move house!

Paul198021

New member
Aug 25, 2020
3
Hi everyone,
I’ve joined this community as I’m really looking for some help or advice.

The situation concerns my Mum. We noticed some strange signs a couple of years ago when her handwriting deteriorated and also she seemed to be confused in social gatherings...but just put this down to old age ....however, since the end of last year she seems to have got a lot worse. Her speech in particular is terrible - she has completely forgotten the meaning of a lot of words and she just cannot seem to articulate anything anymore. Her emails are now pretty much close to being illegible too. Her short term memory is really declining and she has difficulty in remembering anything she has just been told. On top of this, she’s also losing loads of weight (she weighs less than 6 stone at the moment) so I’m not sure if she’s just forgetting to eat or what’s happening.

My Mum is adamant that nothing is wrong with her. She’s always been a really stubborn person but this seems to have got so much worse since then dementia symptoms became more prevalent. I’ve spoken to her about my concerns, as have my brothers, but she thinks nothing is remotely wrong with her.

I did manage to get her to the doctor recently on the pretence that it was just for a Coronavirus check-up. My Mum was really confused when he went through the cognitive test and then started yelling at the doctor, demanding to know what was going on - the Doctor wasn’t great either and started yelling back at her with “I’ve already told you this” ....suffice to say, we are no closer to getting her diagnosed.

This situation is made even worse by the fact that my Mum has put her house up for sale and wants to move. She doesn’t want to move anywhere though - she wants to go to the Highlands of Scotland ! (She did live there about 15 years ago when she retired but didn’t like the fact that it was so isolated and didn’t get to see family much - all our family are in London. Now she has decided that she loved every second up there and should never have moved, which is just completely not true).

I’m really at a loss about what I can do here. I can’t seem to get her diagnosed and if she moved I feel it will be terrible for her, if she’s so far away from family and we can’t even check on her. Me and my family have tried everything to talk her out of the move - We’ve tried to talk to her rationally, we’ve argued with her, we’ve tried to say she won’t see her grandchildren at all. Nothing is working. I’m also shocked that the Estate Agent is letting the sale go ahead because you can tell just by talking to my Mum that something is not right - I mean, she literally cannot string a sentence together that you’d understand.

Thanks for reading and I know that this is a bit of long post so if you’ve got this far I appreciate it! I just wanted to share this problem and see if anyone else has experienced this or if anyone has any useful advice.
Thanks all!
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,858
Nottinghamshire
Welcome to Dementia Talking Point @Paul198021

If I were in your situation I would pretend to help my mum to move and try to persuade her to grant me LPA so that I could help with the move and make sure everything was done “in her best interests”. If you have LPA for your mum you can hopefully prevent her from making any unwise decisions.

Many people have found this helps when dealing with people dementia so hopefully you will find it useful too

 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,853
Hi @Paul198021 , I think @Bunpoots idea is a good one. If you've not come across LPA before this is the Government website with all the details. Has the GP referred your mother to the memory clinic do you know? He doesn't sound like he handled things well, but he must have been aware things were awry. Is there another GP in the practice you could approach. Maybe send a letter with your concerns. The GP won't be able to talk to you about your mother without your permission, but at least they'd be aware.
Has your mother engaged a solicitor for the house move? If she has and you know who they are maybe a phone call explaining your concerns? It sounds like your mother might be able to put her place on the market, but not make the decisions needed to actually move elsewhere.
I'm sure other people will be along soon with other suggestions.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,675
South coast
I really cant believe the GPs reaction. All the symptoms of dementia were right there in front of him. I can only think that he doesnt know much about dementia. Is there another doctor she could see? If so, I would recommend that you write a letter outlining all your concerns and asking whether she could be referred to the memory clinic.

Where is comes to selling the house, I really wonder whether she will be able to go through with it all. How would she go about viewing and buying a house in the Highlands? Certainly, when she gets to the solicitor stage I would have thought that they would realise immediately that there were problems and I would be inclined to contact them. I would also contact the Estate Agent and give them a heads up that she probably has dementia and does not have the capacity to make these decisions about selling.
 

MartinWL

Registered User
Jun 12, 2020
323
I wonder if the bad-tempered GP might be persuaded by a letter to attone for his sins by writing a letter to say that in his opinion she lacks mental capacity for major life decisions? That way help a great deal as the estate agent etc. would have to take notice. In any case you might tell the estate agent to be on his guard as you were going to hold him to account in the future.
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
697
When my mother was in the early stages of dementia, she constantly wanted to move - usually back to Yorkshire. I suppose she knew things weren't right and felt they would be more normal if she went back to where she used to feel ok. Fortunately, she would not have known how to put her flat on the market and I was able to keep saying that I would sort something out.

The doctor sounds appallingly useless. So frustrating when you'd managed to get your mum in front of him. Has mum been assessed by social services? I never did that for my mum but I understand there doesn't have to be a diagnosis for a care assessment. That might get the ball rolling in the right direction (you'll probably have to disguise it as something else - perhaps something connected with the house sale as that's on your mum's mind)

I would contact the estate agent to make them aware of the situation and keep putting the sale off for various reasons in the meantime. Are there things about the house that you could improve on to make your mum feel she wanted to stay after all? Or persuade her they "need doing before selling"? The list could be endless.....
 

Paul198021

New member
Aug 25, 2020
3
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has responded on this thread. I really appreciate all of your advice.
Unfortunately my mum has now sold her house so It’s incredibly frustrating that we’re a little powerless to stop the process.
When she has let me look at her emails I can see there’s a lot of emails from the family solicitor regarding the sale of the house - because my mother can no longer articulate herself anymore and is very confused it sounds like the solicitors are having a great deal of trouble getting any information from her.
Do you think it’s worth making my concerns known to the solicitor ? We don’t have LPA and my mum is just not interested in getting diagnosed so I’m not sure if the solicitor can actually do anything (with regards to stopping the sale of the house) but maybe it’s worth discussing the situation with him?
 

lemonbalm

Registered User
May 21, 2018
697
Oh goodness, @Paul198021 . I can't see a down side to speaking with the solicitor, so would think it is definitely worth a try.

Or, I don't suppose you take the opportunity to steer your mum towards some appropriate housing solution nearby?
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
13,675
South coast
When you say she has "sold" the house, do you mean that she has signed all the legal stuff and has exchanged contracts, or do you mean that she has accepted an offer via the estate agent? House sales can be stopped right up to the time of exchange of contracts.

Id definitely contact the solicitors.
 

jugglingmum

Registered User
Jan 5, 2014
5,918
Chester
I think that if a solicitor is advised someone may have lost capacity, as they have an obligation to only act if someone has capacity, they would be obliged to undertake a capacity test - but only for the transaction under consideration. Sadly the threshold for capacity is fairly low.

If there are things in the transaction that your mum would not be able to undertake you need to make it clear to the solicitor eg

- will she be able to empty her house on completion day?
-will she have anywhere to live on completion day?
- will she be able to have anywhere to live - eg book a hotel room, rent a house, buy another property?

You need to step back and let this fail so don't offer to do these for her.
 

cobden 28

Registered User
Dec 15, 2017
75
I think that if a solicitor is advised someone may have lost capacity, as they have an obligation to only act if someone has capacity, they would be obliged to undertake a capacity test - but only for the transaction under consideration. Sadly the threshold for capacity is fairly low.

If there are things in the transaction that your mum would not be able to undertake you need to make it clear to the solicitor eg

- will she be able to empty her house on completion day?
-will she have anywhere to live on completion day?
- will she be able to have anywhere to live - eg book a hotel room, rent a house, buy another property?

You need to step back and let this fail so don't offer to do these for her.

If your Mum has sold her hpouse, does this simply mean that a sale has been agreed or that she's actua;lly exchanged contracts (so can't back out of the sale going through)? Where does she think she's going to live once her house is owned and occupied by somebody else - where will she go?
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,374
You need to flag this up with the estate agents and solicitor, whatever stage this sale is at . It really isn't fair on the buyers otherwise who may be making their own life changing decisions on the basis of what they believe is going to be a genuine sale . If they know the real situation they will probably pull out of the sale ,thus solving the problem.
 

Paul198021

New member
Aug 25, 2020
3
Thanks you to everyone who has contributed - I really appreciate the advice. Just to give some context around the ‘sale’ of my mums house - no contracts have been exchanged, it’s at the stage where an offer has been accepted.
I did end up contacting the solicitor and straight away he told me that he has massive concerns about my Mum. He’s been her solicitor for 10 years and has said that the decline in her during the last year has been incredibly noticeable (to the point that even other people in his office such as his PA have commented on my Mums decline) ....he has consequently told me that he cannot represent her as it would be extremely unethical to do so as she lacks the capacity to make an informed decision. The solicitor was extremely helpful and after the experience of the doctor mentioned earlier in this thread, has restored my faith a little. He recommended that my family seek a deputyship to control my mother’s affairs as we are possibly past the stage of being able to get LPA.
The other problem now is the estate agents. So, the solicitor let me know that it sounded like the agents had been encouraging my mother with the sale of the house and constantly calling her to put pressure on her to organise the solicitor for the conveyancing. I have therefore written to the estate agents in a polite but firm way to say that we have concerns about my mothers capacity to make decisions and that her solicitor won’t represent her as its unethical to do so in her current state ...so therefore please could they give my mother and my family some time to work it out. I’m hoping that they cancel the sale after reading these facts - I’m really conscious of the fact that someone wants to buy my Mums house and I don’t want to mess them around loads either.
All in all, quite a stressful week so far. I’ll keep on updating this thread as I’d love this to help someone going through the same situation. Thank you all for your great help and advice.
 

MrsV

Registered User
Apr 16, 2018
187
Northamptonshire
Thanks you to everyone who has contributed - I really appreciate the advice. Just to give some context around the ‘sale’ of my mums house - no contracts have been exchanged, it’s at the stage where an offer has been accepted.
I did end up contacting the solicitor and straight away he told me that he has massive concerns about my Mum. He’s been her solicitor for 10 years and has said that the decline in her during the last year has been incredibly noticeable (to the point that even other people in his office such as his PA have commented on my Mums decline) ....he has consequently told me that he cannot represent her as it would be extremely unethical to do so as she lacks the capacity to make an informed decision. The solicitor was extremely helpful and after the experience of the doctor mentioned earlier in this thread, has restored my faith a little. He recommended that my family seek a deputyship to control my mother’s affairs as we are possibly past the stage of being able to get LPA.
The other problem now is the estate agents. So, the solicitor let me know that it sounded like the agents had been encouraging my mother with the sale of the house and constantly calling her to put pressure on her to organise the solicitor for the conveyancing. I have therefore written to the estate agents in a polite but firm way to say that we have concerns about my mothers capacity to make decisions and that her solicitor won’t represent her as its unethical to do so in her current state ...so therefore please could they give my mother and my family some time to work it out. I’m hoping that they cancel the sale after reading these facts - I’m really conscious of the fact that someone wants to buy my Mums house and I don’t want to mess them around loads either.
All in all, quite a stressful week so far. I’ll keep on updating this thread as I’d love this to help someone going through the same situation. Thank you all for your great help and advice.
Hi there,
Thank goodness it didn’t get to exchange of contracts stage. You have to remove the property from sale ASAP. Before the buyers start spending money in mortgage deals and surveyors valuations s. It’s the estate agents duty to contact the buyer and tell them it’s not going to go ahead, the owner has dementia and it’s not for sale. If they have issue tell them to contact her solicitor. Where would your mum live, she would’ve been made homeless. Also once she receives a diagnosis, unfortunately the proceeds of sale will have to be used for her care. Sadly. I hope you cancel it in time. Estate agents are quite ruthless in my personal experience. Good luck
 

imthedaughter

Registered User
Apr 3, 2019
507
I think solicitors have a duty of care and an ethics code of practice to uphold. Estate agents do not. A solictor's letter to the estate agent may be the next step...
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,374
You need to pursue the LPA or deputyship as a priority. If your mother is still convinced about moving, she could be approaching other estate agents
 
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lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
39
At the moment the most important thing seems to be to get LPA in place.
You can do this yourself, without involving a solicitor,especially one who doubts your Mum's capacity, and may be reluctant to agree. Your Mum needs to sign a couple of pages - perhaps you can tell her it's to do with the house sale? - and you need a couple of nice friends / neighbours to witness it. I can hear the sharp intakes of breath from here! - but the LPA is so important for you (and your brothers) to make the best decisions for Mum in the future.
By all means push for a Memory Clinic appointment, once LPA is in place, but don't assume that a diagnosis will open a new world of support, advice etc. You're on your own (at least that's my, bitter, experience.)
Even with this sale foiled, it sounds as if, sadly, your Mum is going to require some care putting in place, or even a move to sheltered or similar housing at some point. As a house owner, she is probably going to be self-funding.
 

Sarasa

Registered User
Apr 13, 2018
1,853
I'd be a bit wary about tricking your mum into signing the LPA, but certainly try to make her understand that it is in her best interests to have one, and try to get it sorted if you can.
I'd almost be tempted to carry on with the house sale if you could help her move into suitable sheltered accommodation nearer you, but that could be tricky if she is really insistent on moving to the Scottish highlands!
 

cobden 28

Registered User
Dec 15, 2017
75
If your Mum is thinking of moving to the Scottish Highlands, what has she done or thought to do abput bjuying a place up there? How does she expect to physically pack up everything where she lives now and then move such a long, long way away?