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Dad getting worse ? What support is out there?(12 Posts)
I live 300 miles away from dad. He's been very depressed since mum died three years ago and has a variety of health problems. He can't walk far now, his balance is poor, hearing is failing, he has tinnitus and glaucoma and needs a knee replacement, his memory and social awareness are getting worse and he's not safe to drive, even queuing in tesco is getting him into trouble as he goes to the front of the queue as he doesn't seem to see other people and crossing the road is an issue as he doesn't seem to see cars. He lives on his own.
He has money in the bank but he is a skinflint so won't pay anybody to care for him and doesn't want strangers in the house anyway.
I live too far away from him, a three hour drive to help. What sort of support is out there? Who can I contact?
Your first port of call is his GP, and then a social services assessment. Unfortunatly though, no one can force him to pay for help (if he has assets over the threshold) or to accept it.
For my parents, the way in to accepting help was after a hospital admission when they 'had' to have some help, so the knee replacement might give you that. But care visits won't help with crossing the road etc.
Would he consider moving closer to you?
Unfortunately, in my experience, help can only be triggered by one of two things. Firstly the person has to request it. The LAs usually will make a telephone call to the person concerned after they have been made aware of the situation by a relative. If the person refuses to co-operate they will not interfere, saying that the person has a right to choose.
The other way is for a 'crisis point' to be reached. Usually an accident, a fall, hospital admission or the person deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
I would email the his Local Authority Elderly Persons Unit, outlying your concerns. That will start a file on him but are unlikely to visit him unless he agrees.
On a practical note, start to make a file of all his details. apply for PoA if he is agreeable, and try to get him to allow you to add your name to his bank account. If you visit and if he is agreeable, collect up as many papers as you possibly can.
Make lists of all his accounts, utility bills, phone numbers of GP details, hospital appointments and medications. Every time you make a call on his behalf, log the date time, name of who you spoke to and the outcome. Nothing you do for an elderly person ever gets resolved with one phone call, so having the log gives you ammunition in getting through red tape. The PoA will allow you to have his mail redirected to you, something I have found invaluable.
On the front of the file write, his full name, DoB, and place of birth. Date of marriage, Date you mum died. National Insurance number, his address and postcode. GP address and tele. Number. Any time you are asked for info not on the file add it to it.
You will be surprised how many times you have to give the same info, to the same organisation. Quite often the sheer frustration makes your brain freeze, but having the info to hand does speed up things.
Sorry for the essay
Agree with all the above especially POA as an emergency. He has to be able to understand and consent to it. If you miss the boat it's all very very difficult and expensive. Also it sits dormant for some weeks ( maybe 12) before you can use it.
I photographed lots of documents with my phone - bills etc.
He can't be forced to have care till he looses capacity but when you have access to his funds you can internet shop for him etc ( my sis did that from Spain for mum, it was one of the few practical things she coukd do but it did help)
Ok. Thanks everyone, that has given me some food for thought. I have suggested that he puts his house on the market to move nearer to me and he says that it is something he will consider if his health worsens. Poa won't happen as he thinks my husband and every one else, including me are trying to pull one over on him, when it comes to money. Although I love him, he is not an easy man to care for or like.
He has agreed that he will move his bed downstairs and that he will have the stairlift that my mother used to use made serviceable again.
I am afraid that is a very familiar thing, about not signing the POA. I wish there was a magic formula for for getting them to understand the stress when you don't have it in place. It does not matter how efficient and clued up you are, absolutely no-one wants to give info or answer a simple question without it. When the time comes to step in to help them there is an endless list of people to contact.
When he gets worse, be very wary about saying things like, "I am just enquiring because my dad is getting a bit muddled". It is not unusual for them to immediately freeze the accounts. This has happened to two of my friends at two separate banks.
Sorry if my posts seem a bit negative, I hope that forewarned is forearmed.
Aching without POA. You will be utterly stuffed financially. You will not be able to manage any money / pay bill when he can't do it.
Possible work arounds are possible but banks are getting hot on it. If you have his PIN numbers obvious cash points work but it's not entirely legal even then. Pre sign many cheques the moment you start having to sort bills or get internet access to " help him " set up on line payments.
But you can't open / close/ modify accounts without him there now - eg several years ago I found my parents had a " gold account " which they paid a sum per month to get " amazing benefits" which they were fully suckered in by. Actually they could not use a single benefit - even if they could travel they were to old, the AA cover was lovely - but not if you don't have a car etc ! Just to get the account down graded to one that didn't cost them needed an appointment , a financial lecture about what they were " loosing" and both signatories. Dad clearly didn't have capacity then but could nod and say " yes that's interesting" at the right point, and mum was 100% ok so we managed it. I'm sure if it hadn't have been joint they'd have questioned dad more.
The alternative is court of protection after he looses capacity. Long and costly. Often a proscess that is triggered as an " emergency " and very horrible all round ( the last one I knew of was where I lady was managing mums money as a " second signatory on the account" but an un answered letter made the bank put a stop on the account - it went to mums house - which had been sold. The account was frozen till the old lady appeared and proved she was still ok - she could do that and the nursing home bills needed paying )
You also have no power to make any health choices for your relative. That's fine " best interest" will always rule. BUT unless relative is able to do some sort of genie signed consent to communicate noon will talk to you about him either. So you won't be able to find out if he attended his GP appointment or what the hospital letter said or even request a visit if he's I'll ( except in a roundabout " I know you can't talk to me but the doctor needs to know and deal with the fact he had a fall and has been in the floor overnight but I've got him in a chair now . Please make sure the doc knows" way). You can always attend with your relative though and the doc will say " nice to see you've brought X, it's ok if they stay isn't it" or other " patient gave consent for relative to be there" things.
Sorry you are going to have such a challenge.
And you spend a long Time impersonating your relative on the phone !
Sorry it's not clear from your post, does he actually have a diagnosis of dementia or are you assuming he has it due to behaviour?
There is no diagnosis. He doesn't trust doctors as my mum died from a medical mistake.
It sounds like a very difficult situation but there's not a lot you can do. The threshold is so high for help that unless something happens it's hard to get support against his wishes.
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