Repeat investigation by OPG

Carmol

New member
Feb 10, 2024
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I and my husband are jointly and serverally the attorneys for an elderly friend. This man has no living blood relatives though he has a stepson (not legally adopted) who lives in another country. The man was found by doctors to have lost capacity late in 2022 so my husband, who has known him for more than 50 years, took up duties as attorney. He arranged, with advice from Social Services, a care package since our friend was adamant that he wished to remain in his own home. Then we were hit with an investigation from the OPG. Apparently it had been claimed that our friend had been in some way coerced into signing his LPA and that he had been isolated from friends and family. We provided copies of all his medical and financial records, bank accounts, investments, receipts for any purchases made on his account since the LPA had been active. The OPG found no evidence to support the allegations and we received a letter of closure. Now we have been hit with ANOTHER investigation by the OPG, this time claiming that our friends finances are not being used in his best interests. Again, the OPG wants all financial records, receipts etc. - all the stuff we sent previously but with all the receipts for the past year as well. Our friend has now deteriorated to the point where we have been advised he shoukd be in a care home, so my husband is liaising with the authorities on this. We believe we know the source of these repeated attacks on us and, of course, the motive is money. It seems some acquaintances of the stepson believe our friend to be extremely wealthy. They have repeatedly told us he ‘should be in a luxury care home’. Aside from the fact that his resources would only stretch to this for a limited time, they took no account of what our friend actually wanted. This latest attack is, we believe, based on one (unannounced) visit to his home by people who had not seen him for several years.
Why cannot the OPG see from their previous investigation that this is a malicious and unwarranted attack? They have the information, but say because the previous complaint did not relate to finance they want it again! This is causing us distress and for me personally (I am in my 70s and recently recovered from cancer) it now seems that becoming an attorney simply allows anyone with a grudge to have a go. Is there no restraint on this kind of abuse? And if not, why would anyone bother trying to help a friend or relative by becoming an attorney.
I would be grateful to hear from anyone else who has been targeted in this way as to how they dealt with it.
 

northumbrian_k

Volunteer Host
Mar 2, 2017
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Newcastle
Hi @Carmol and welcome to Dementia Support Forum our friendly and helpful community of people with experience of many aspects of dementia. I do hold Power of Attorney for my wife but haven't had to face a situation such as you describe. It sounds that you are doing your best for your friend in accordance with the duties of an Attorney. It is unhelpful that other people are meddling in things that are really not their concern. From OPG's point of view the matter will need to be investigated, which is added stress that you could do without.

As for so-called 'luxury' care homes, I did view some when choosing a suitable place for my wife. They would charge for things that she wouldn't use or get any benefit from. Instead, I placed her in a home that is more domestic in scale, promotes choice and independence and gave me a convincing explanation of how personalised care is delivered. It is not luxury by any means but she is settled and content almost 5 years on. She had enough in assets to self-fund for 20 months, after which Local Authority funding commenced, with a contribution from my wife but no 3rd party top-up.

Her sister thought it wasn't sufficiently luxurious which is maybe why she never visits.

Best of luck in dealing with OPG and finding a suitable home.
 

Carmol

New member
Feb 10, 2024
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Thank you for the encouragement. My husband is of the same opinion re ‘luxury’ homes and believes he has found somewhere his friend will be able to settle.
 

SAP

Registered User
Feb 18, 2017
1,313
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Hi @Carmol , I’m sorry to hear you are having such a hard time trying to help a friend. I agree with @northumbrian_k that the OPG has a duty to investigate each new allegation as galling as this is for you.
My guess is that this person has absolutely no clue about dementia or care homes. Even the best, most expensive home has limits and even if your friend had millions in spare cash, the homes may not take him, it is all very dependant on circumstances. So try not o fret, give the OPG what they ask for, you seem a very organised person, and then hopefully forget about it and let social services take the lead in guiding you on.
 

Carmol

New member
Feb 10, 2024
4
0
Thank you. I think I am just upset that our lives can be so disrupted in this way on zero evidence, just because someone thinks they know better.
 

Violet Jane

Registered User
Aug 23, 2021
2,033
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I am so sorry to read this. My husband was a financial attorney for an elderly friend who had no close family. Fortunately, the POA had been drawn up 10 years before she was diagnosed with dementia. My husband had an issue with our elderly friend's cousin not accepting that she had dementia. It's dreadful that you are having to answer unfounded accusations by meddling people who have very limited involvement with your friend.

I would keep Social Services closely involved if you can. My husband was always concerned about not exceeding his remit as a financial attorney (nobody had a POA for health and welfare) and so took advice from SS at each stage. The initial care package was suggested by SS and my husband only organised live-in care when a social worker advised that our friend needed 24 hour supervision (she wanted to stay at home). Shortly before she died, when the care package had become horrifically expensive, he consulted SS again and the social worker concluded that she still had capacity to decide where to live.

It is not up to the stepson or these acquaintances when your friend moves into a care home. It is a decision for your friend if he still has capacity or for the H&W attorney, if any, or SS if he doesn't. These people know nothing of his finances and you can tell them that this information is private and you will make the best decision for him based on his best interest, on what he can afford and on what's available.
 

Carmol

New member
Feb 10, 2024
4
0
Thank you. We have repeatedly told them that we must accede to the wishes of our friend whenever possible. Like many elderly people he prefers now to wear comfortable jogging bottoms and loose fitting sweaters, although he has smarter clothes in his wardrobe. Of course, he was wearing these when his unexpected visitors turned up so they have interpreted this as a sign of neglect/abuse. Our friend is currently in an assessment facility- where he is still choosing to wear his comfy old clothes. He has always been clean and safe since my husband took up his duties as attorney - but apparently these acquaintances still expect him to dress as he did 20 years ago!