Where do I stand legally?

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by Bessieb, Aug 25, 2015.

  1. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    Hi there,
    My parents both have Alzheimers. They've been living 3 hours drive away from me independently with carers help up until June but my Dad was ill with a UTI in June, was admitted to hospital for a month and everything went downhill quite rapidly.
    I moved them to respite care near me in July and am wanting to make this a permanent arrangement as I am really happy with the care home and am very sure that they won't cope or be safe moving back home - even though my Dad is in better physical health - mentally they are just not up to it.
    However....my parents are both adamant they are returning home. They think they are on holiday and are constanty 'going home tomorrow'. I am being very vague and saying 'just a few more days' and pointing out the benefits of being where they are but they are insistant they can cope at home and will be back their soon. Sometimes they come across as quite lucid...equally sometimes not and they believe they are on a cruise ship, in a flat they have bought, in a hotel. They've been their 6 weeks but generally think they've only arrived that morning.
    I will have to sell their house to fund a long term residential arrangement. But if I ask my Dad's permission he will definitely say no as he believes they are going home. Do I need his permission? I have POA. Does someone professional need to confirm that he lacks capacity in order for me to proceed with the house sale or indeed to make a permanent residential agreement on their behalf. I'm talking about my Dad because he is the strongest of the two and my Mum will pretty much go along with whatever I say.
    I'm feeling very unconfident in my decision -making and am an only child so no family help. I want to do what is in their best interests but am not sure how that fits in with consent / capacity issues etc. Social Services are not being that helpful and basically say it's up to me.
    Any advice gratefully received - feeling very overwhelmed but know I need to make a decision
  2. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
    If you have POA, you don't need permission, unless you think he hasn't lost capacity yet.
  3. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    Radcliffe on Trent
    First of all welcome to TP, and I hope you'll find lots of help here. I really feel for you having all the responsibility of making these difficult decisions. It feels unnatural somehow to override a parent's wishes. I'm not an only child but my brother and sister were happy just to leave all the decision-making to me when the crunch came.

    It is in my view absolutely the right decision to have your parents near you. I struggled for months trying to support mum in her own home 60 miles away and the logistics were really hard, especially when you were trying to arrange meetings with doctors, OTs, etc. I was lucky in a way, as my mum constantly said how miserable she was at home, and her CPN was also a strong advocate of her being nearer to us, so that helped me feel I was doing the right thing.

    If you have LPA for finance and it has been registered with the OPG, you are entitled to make any financial decisions as if you were the donor, so you can sell the house. Do you also have LPA for Health and Welfare? I didn't but nobody ever questioned my decision to move mum into care and if you are self-funding most likely SS will not even be interested.

    It might however set your mind at rest if someone else could assess your Dad (and maybe mum too) to determine that they don't have capacity to make the decision. This could be a GP or other health professional. Alternatively, you could simply continue with the line that this is a temporary arrangement and blame the doctors who say they're just not well enough.
  4. Stresshead

    Stresshead Registered User

    Sep 13, 2014
    Hi Bessieb I'm sorry that you find yourself in this heartbreaking position. I'm in the same place as you and also an only child.

    The sale of my dads house is just about to go through. As long as the Power of Attorney has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian then you will be fine to go ahead with the sale. Your solicitor will be able to advise you.

    Unfortunately this goes with the disease and having to make the right decisions when our loved ones no longer have capacity.

    I wish you strength xx

    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
  5. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    Hello Bessieb
    Welcome to TP - lots of help and support to be found here.
    Has the POA been registered?
    If so - from what I read in your post, you firmly believe that a permanent move is in both your parents' best interest and that they no longer have capacity to make these decisions so you as Attorney are now responsible and have a duty to do what is best for them. So, yes you are able to sell the house.
    Your dad might well say no if you asked him - but it is not a no made with capacity to understand the whole picture, all the consequences and ramifications. It is an habitual no made with the heart, not the rational head. You understand that - sadly, he no longer can.
    If you are not sure of your ground on capacity - you only need check with your partner (if you have one) or a longstanding friend for back-up - no doubt anyone who knows your parents well will have the same understanding of their position.
    If they think that each day is their first on holiday then to me that would be a lovely way to live in the home. They can be adamant they are going home - but if it is their first day or week on holiday, then they still have at least another week in this lovely hotel ....
    And if the house needs to be sold, then go ahead.
    If the POA isn't yet registered - get that done but go ahead with your plans in the meantime as things such as a house sale take time anyway.
    For what it's worth - I think your parents are fortunate to have such a lovely daughter looking out for them and you are doing right by them, as very hard as that is to do in these circumstances.
    All the best.
  6. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    Thank you for your replies - it really does help.
    Yes the POA is registered....and my husband and aunt (Dad's sister) agree with me that they don't have capacity...so logically I think I'm doing the right thing.
    It is so difficult overriding parents wishes, it doesn't seem at all natural when they have been so strong and capable all of their lives. I don't think I can at all carry on supporting them from 3 hours away and I know they need to be near me.
    I suppose it's the 'whether he has capacity' question that I'm concerned about. I don't think he has and I don't think most medical professionals he has come into contact with think he has but sometimes he is very lucid and it's then that I have major doubts about what I'm doing.
    I would just love to be able to have a rational discussion with them and come to a sensible decision together but I'm very doubtful that this will ever happen. Unbelievably difficult and I feel like I'm constantly lying to them with the suggestion that everything is temporary.
  7. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    I agree with Shedrech

  8. Bod

    Bod Registered User

    Aug 30, 2013
    Your parents are now safe and well cared for.
    You have POA for both health & welfare, and financial for both parents?
    Do you have any other family members?
    If both answers are yes, then I would, on the record, ask for a Consultant's opinion on your parents state of mind, regarding their care needs.
    This will cover you, if anyone asks questions later.
    It is difficult, you will feel bad, but, and its a big but, you are doing right, for them. Your mother probably appreciates it now, your father will settle in time. (mine took over 3 months )

  9. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    It's good to hear that POA is registered and that you have the support and understanding of husband and aunt.
    So go ahead with clear conscience and set aside any momentary doubts.
    I can begin to appreciate what you are going through - dad has been in his care home just a few months and his house will be sold.
    I just remind myself that he and mum took all the early life decisions for me so that I grew into an independent adult able to make my own decisions and now able to make the later life decisions for him - and I know what he would have said to me pre-dementia, so I take these decisions on his behalf from his and mum's viewpoint. I would only be letting him down if I didn't.
    So in many ways you are not overriding his wishes - the wishes that he and his wife be safe and comfortable and looked after. Sadly that can no longer be in their own house.
    As to the lying - you are simply not quite telling the whole truth - as a daughter you don't want him to be unnecessarily upset, so you are shouldering that weight for them - again much as they did for you in your youth.
    You wouldn't be considering the position properly if you had no doubts at all ever - but lucid moments don't last and are only a tiny proportion of what has to be taken into account overall.
    I agree, I'd give anything to have to have that rational discussion with dad - but it's not to be - and trying would only make him feel so bad. So I go forward on the discussions I did have with him in the past and apply what he said then to what is happening now.
    Sorry to ramble.
    Nothing about this is comfortable - but you are doing right.
  10. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    Gosh amazing Shedrech so very well said, so true to life xx
  11. curtainsgalore

    curtainsgalore Registered User

    Nov 2, 2014
    Depending on what kind of care home your parents are in they would have a capacity assessment for a DOLS. (Deprivation of liberty safeguard)This is done by social workers, doctors and the home. If the home isn't secure and they can come and go as they like I still think a social worker could do a capacity assessment to make sure they are in the right place.
    It will work so much better for you with supporting your parents in the care home with the distance between you.
    I am in the process of selling Mums house at the moment and just had to give my solicitors a certified Copy of the POA and that was it. I also sold a piece of land of my mums and that all went smoothly.
  12. Bessieb

    Bessieb Registered User

    Jun 2, 2014
    Gosh that's a lovely way to look at it Shedrech. I am really trying to do my best for them and have agonised over the decisions...all the decisions that have had to be made over the last couple of years as they have deteriorated.....and I do have the support of all family so I suppose I should be more confident. It is just very hard when they themselves are saying they want to do something different.
    Reading through all the posts on this forum makes me realise how many people are having to take these tough decisions. So hard.
    I do know they are safe, warm, together, well-fed and visited so I suppose I have to focus on all of those positives and not the things they have had to give up.
    I am just hoping that I'll visit soon and they won't mention going home and it'll give me hope that they will settle. I suppose 6 weeks hasn't been that long.
    I have both POA's registered for both of them so at least that's one process taken care of. Selling the house feels very daunting but absolutely necessary so I'll just have to grit my teeth and get on with it. I am going to chat again to their GP to reassure myself she is of the same mindset I am re capacity.
  13. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    Bessieb, I'm in a similar situation with my dad. I also have POA, and have wondered when I can enact it (to sell the house). Dad still talks about 'going home' and it's been 4 months since he was living there. I have agonised about the decision to clear the house, so much so that it's still as it was on the day my dad walked out of it.

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to get a clear answer to the question about POA - I even rang the Office of the Public Guardian (there's a helpline number on the paperwork) and it was suggested to me that I should continue to use 'gentle persuasion' to help dad see that the house needs to be sold. But that doesn't really work with a dementia patient, does it? It could go on for years! So I came to the conclusion there's no definitive answer; and I wrote everything down, all the pros and cons about going home, and the impact on the family. Plus the background, such as my dad's wishes when he was able to think more clearly. I signed and dated it. It makes me feel better to know I have something to refer back to, in case I have a wobble or anyone questions my decisions in the future.

    I hope this helps! Good luck - you are definitely not on your own :)
  14. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    The person who advocated 'gentle persuasion' evidently doesn't understand dementia, but then that's hardly unusual!

    It is very hard when you know that the house needs to be sold, and equally you know that the person is never going to agree, since according to them they can manage fine at home.
    My mother was like this - could no longer even make herself a cup of tea, not washing, would have been living in squalor if not for loads of support, but still convinced she could manage perfectly well - no recollection whatsoever of having been often anxious and frightened at home.

    You just have to grit your teeth and get on with it - and in the meantime keep on with whatever 'love lies' will work best. I was endlessly 'looking for a nice little flat' for my mother, 'just down the road from me - as soon as I find a really nice one we'll go and have a look together.' She had always been an inveterate 'mover' so this worked for her. I must have said it scores of times - it always kept her happy (or at least as happy as she was ever going to be) and she never remembered that I'd said much the same before.

    Good luck to everybody going through all this - it is very hard and emotionally draining.
  15. irishmanc

    irishmanc Registered User

    Jan 14, 2015
    I'm in a very similar situation, Bessieb. I am also an only child and have both parents in a nursing home (Dad with Alz and Mum with Parkinson's and vascular dementia). I have recently cleared out their house to rent it out. I know all too well the peculiar mix of feelings experienced by the only child in this situation and wanted to wish you strength.
  16. looviloo

    looviloo Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    Witzend - thanks, this forum is great for support and knowing you're not alone, because this whole process can be very stressful and isolating at times. Comments like yours pick me up when I feel down!

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