1. lincsmom

    lincsmom Registered User

    Dec 14, 2006
    5
    Lincolnshire
    Hi everyone

    I wondered if anyone had come across a situation like ours and could offer some help. My husband and I still have some contact with his former Mum-in-law (his late wife, this lady's daughter, died some 15 years ago). We do not live close by and the lady's only other daughter lives in Singapore. We got called out of the blue by the local police to say they had found this lady wandering the streets. She had locked herself out (this was at about 5 in the morning). We cancelled work, went over and got the damage repaired where the police had re-entered the house for her, and found the place a mess and the phone cut off. Mum doesn't know if it is night or day and is sleeping in a chair in the same clothers every day. She doesn't eat anything but bread and butter as she has forgotten how to cook. Social services were called in(5 weeks ago now). They took details and kindly got meal on wheels in place. We contacted the daughter in Singapore who cannot afford to fly back to the UK, but who is keen to try to sort things out for her Mum. Mum is very anti social services and is refusing to tell anyone details of her bills, finances etc. Daughter called and she won't tell her either. Soc services say she needs help to set up direct debits or she will fall behind with the mortgage or have her electric cut off. We live too far away to get over much and when we do go she refuses to talk about it. Daughter tried to activate EPA but the solicitor says he thinks Mum will not consent. Soc services are demanding we sort it out but we have no real power and daughter has asked if social services can't put some sort of order in place. They have requested assessment for Mum, but it still hasn't taken place. They say they cannot offer any more. What can we do? We can't offer this lady a home or any degree of care. Any ideas?
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    You really are in a tough place - worry without rights.

    When you say "activate the EPA" I assume you mean that one has been signed but not registered? Because in that case, the donor must be informed (with some exceptions), but there is no requirement to agree. Of course they can object, just like anyone else, but the burden of proof is on them to prove that they are still competant, and it doesn't seem like that's going to happen.

    This is a hard thing to say, because no one wants to be considered uncaring, but you may not be doing the situation any good by becoming involved in it - if social services think they can leave you to deal with it they WILL leave you to deal with it. What if the police hadn't been able to get in touch with you? They would (well should) have been on to emergency social services and then it would have been their problem. I think you're really going to have to be firm with social services and put the ball back firmly in their court.

    Jennifer
     
  3. lincsmom

    lincsmom Registered User

    Dec 14, 2006
    5
    Lincolnshire
    Thanks

    Thanks for your reply. I think that is what we were feeling but you know how the Social Services can make you feel like you are the one who should be sorting it all out. They are more than plausible - but we knew deep inside that they should really be sorting it and not us. We have put some pressure on to date although they keep coming back to us eg will you sign for attendance allowance, what are you doing about her bills etc. We will now take a firmer stance. Really appreciate your advice - many thanks!
     
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    It is extremely difficult dealing with this kind of stuff at a distance, so I do feel very sorry for her daughter, but it is possible (I'm in the US, my mother is in the UK). I am fortunate enought to be able to come back at regular intervals, but it's tough. Having said that, I think you would be wise to "withdraw". It is inevitable that SS will keep on trying to get you involved - but you'll just have to be firm. If she's unwilling to accept help anyway (and there are a number of posters here who are in this situation) with no familiy ties to her you have absolutely no status to deal with anything. A hint that you might pass on to her daughter - if they can get the phone put back on, (and really, if she's vulnerable, it shouldn't have been cut off) 3-way or conference calls are an excellent way of dealing with utilities etc, without physically being in the same place (because they won't even talk to the daughter without permission from her).

    Jennifer
     
  5. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    715
    Actually its not true that Utilities wont talk to the daughter without the Mother

    So long as you can find the Bank account details any utility company will switch bills to direct debit and send the actual bills to the attorneys address ......hence the need of an EPA registered or unregistered

    However it seems to me that this Mother has gone beyond phone calls and should actually have already been sectioned by the Police who definitely have the power to do so
     
  6. Áine

    Áine Registered User

    unless the law has changed, I don't think the police don't have a right to section someone. they have a right under the mental health act (section 136) to remove someone to a place of safety (in practice hospital or police cell) and keep them there for a number of hours (72 I think) until there can be a proper mental health assessment. but to section someone for an substantial period (28 days, 6 months) requires the social worker (or nearest relative) the GP and psychiatrist. my memory is that section 136 only applies if someone is in a public place ....... they can't be removed from their homes.
     
  7. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,439
    #7 jenniferpa, Dec 14, 2006
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2006
    Aine your absolutely right. However, Section 135 does allow a police officer, accompanied by a doctor and an approved social worker to enter any premises to remove someone who is in danger, provided they have a warrant from a magistrate. It's 72 hours as well.

    One of the problems with the current version on the mental health act is the "nearest relative" rule. As I have recently found out, under the terms of the act, I am not my mother's nearest relative (bit of a surprise there) because I live outside the country. My cousin (who I haven't seen in 35 years) is her nearest relative. This will apply to the OP's situation. If there is no "nearest relative" it is up to SS to apply for an order of Guardianship (not to be confused with the guardianship website) for the person. So that's another reason to bat this ball back to them.

    Jennifer

    Edited to add. Of course, in this case, the OP said that the whole thing started when she was found wandering in the street - if that's not a public place, I don't know what is. At that point they could, and perhaps should, have used section 136
     
  8. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    1,370
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi

    I agree with Jennifer, Social Services are very good at passing the buck, whilst I am sure you feel, at some level, maybe a bit responsible for this lady due to previous ties, you are not really helping the situation.

    I would without any shadow of doubt write to Social Services (retaining a copy), stating that you beleive this lady to be at great risk (stating why), that you are not in ANY position able to offer any assistance, and that they have to do something to protect her. I would also send a copy of this letter to her MP and GP.

    I think I would be most worried about her losing her home, sadly there is no sentiment in business, and if indeed she has fallen behind with her mortgage, could find herself out on the street. If she is not of the mental capacity to deal with this, goodness knows what could happen to her.

    To be honest with you, whilst the daughter may well not be 'well off' to afford trips to the UK, I know if it were my mother, I would be selling the family silver, or getting a bank loan to make the trip, again whilst you are offering help, you are taking over her responsibility. Sorry if this sounds a tat hard, but it seems that daughter and Social Services are holding their breath hoping you will take over this persons care, and you basically have no rights what so ever in law to offer this help.

    Good luck
    Cate
     
  9. lincsmom

    lincsmom Registered User

    Dec 14, 2006
    5
    Lincolnshire
    Really helpful

    Thank you everyone for all your helpful information. We are visiting with this lady today and have been under a lot of pressure to do lots of stuff which, as you all point out, is actually nothing to do with us. We will be taking the advice you give and withdrawing. The idea of the letter to the Social Serivces/GP/MP is excellent and at least then we feel we have done something to put people in the picture. Thank you so much - it is wonderful to find so much support so freely and readily given!:)
     

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