Advice needed please dealing with ss(24 Posts)
MIL has Alzheimer’s disease and is progressively getting worse. Social services think she’s still able to live at home despite numerous examples of safeguarding issues, going missing etc. Until something happens they won’t take action. Because her situation is fairly complex in that she’s quite functional, able to wash herself etc but her problem solving and cognitive function has declined hugely. Everything we put in place she refuses and by that I mean things like GPS tracker so we know where she is - she said we were spying on her and now just leaves her keys at home, leaving her flat unlocked etc. This is a tiny fraction of what we deal with every day and our employers are fed up of us having to deal with issues in work time. Any advice would be appreciated from people in this situation.
Because we are having to go there so often, pick up shopping unexpectedly, pay for little bits here and there, we often end up out of pocket. But it’s adding up now to about £40 a week. Dh has poa (joint) but every time we take a bank card off her she goes to the bank and reports it lost/unknown pin so we never have the correct pin for her card or it’s been stopped. We have access to her bank so if we withdraw money from our own bank to give to MIL can we just repay from her account?
Alzheimer’s is a horrible, devastating disease.
I had some experience with my dad and it was really awful. He had vascular dementia and was incontinent and falling. He became .Social Services were determined that he had capacity to decide that he could stay in his home and it got very very difficult ( sorry). We had an old style POA and it only dealt with financial matters and not health etc. We pushed it as far as we could.
With the financial POA you should be able to talk to the bank about not issuing a new card. However there was something on Money Box Live on Radio 4 yesterday lunchtime about capacity. Might be worth finding the podcast or i-player as there was a lawyer speciailsing in POA issues who gave some advice.
Also there are various different cognative tests- dad aways did well with the one most commonly used- he was very interested in current affairs and therefore knew who is prime minister etc. When he had a more in depth test when he was in hospital after a fall, they realised how bad he was a started to listen to us more. However, I can remember walking around the car park at work , in freezing weather telling the Social Worker he would be back in hospital within a week if they allowed him home again. She told me I was negative and was wrong. She was right, I was wrong. He lasted 4 days before another fall.
As for your original question - you can certainly reclaim the money you are paying out for her and any mnoey you give her, but keep records in case anyone queries it.
With regard to the money for shopping etc yes I keep receipts. However withdrawals of cash from our account (when she asks for money unexpectedly and we don’t have her card) I just transfer the money from her account. Is this ok?
Also can we get some petrol money - a lot of our money per month goes on petrol and if we are doing a 20 mile round trip 3/4 times a week it adds up and we could do with being reimbursed - ss are unclear about this saying ‘any expenses for mil could be covered but keep receipts’ I can’t keep receipts for petrol as I fill up for our own use.
She’s an accident waiting to happen tbh whether that’s a fall in her own home, going missing, withdrawing large sums of money from her account and being generally confused.
We didn't have quite that problem DB and SIL lived in walking distance. I live a long way away so went for weekend visits which I would have done anyway. In your case I wouldkeep petrol receipts and make diary notes of visits so you can give an indication of mileage if needed. If push comes to shove I would argue a mileage figure which in public sector is about 25p per mile I think. It should not come to an arguement with SS I hope.
We have access to her bank so if we withdraw money from our own bank to give to MIL can we just repay from her account?
No. Youve got the wrong end of the stick with POA, It does NOT mean you can use it to override her about things she is still able to chose. You need proper advice about this ASAP
Ask social services for a section 47 assessment. This should be an in depth assessment carried out to establish the persons community care needs. If one is requested they have to do one. Once produced go through it carefully and if it is inadequate, write down in response all the points as to why. For example if they say she is safe in her home, you say she does not lock the front door when at home or when out. If they say she is well nourished, counter this by saying on x days of the week we attend and cook and feed her. This cannot continue because . . . etcetera. See how you get on. If you Google s47 community care assessment adult, there is lots of info available. Incidentally, good advice about keeping a diary, but do this for every incident so you can use it as evidence. Re expenses, you must keep comprehensive records as it's your duty as the Attorney for her.
I had forgotten. It is about 10 years since the problems with my dad arose. We kept a diary of events after a particular incident. It was a word document and we recorded all incidents, including some of the strange phone calls I had at silly o'clock. You record that you had to go to pay a shop or cook a meal or that she told Mrs Bloggs XYZ. My dad told SS that i visited every day to hoover the house which they carefully recorded, and used as evidence of family support. This was despite it being a 7 hour round trip to be fitted into school hours and working part time. We included all GP and hospital admissions.
For our POA we had to demonstrate that he was not competent to manage his finances, which was fairly easily done- he had incurred huge credit card bills drawing cash out as it was easier somehow despite having savings. He also started forgetting to pay his household bills and nearly had gas and electricity cut off.
That Money Box (not live) broadcast from Saturday is well worth a listen.
On the banking stuff it is much easier to keep everything separate. Initially my mother was far from happy, but she had been giving bank details out to random people who called, so I had little option.
Speak to the manager at the branch he goes into, who presumably is aware of problems. (If no branch simply go ahead with the rest, bank call centres know nothing about POAs.) GetAttorney access to his account. Ie your own check book and card and access to internet banking. Cancel hers. Decide whether to set up a parallel small savings account, one that allows a debit card but not overdraft, or simply give him cash every week. Banks are caught in a difficult bind. They need to protect vulnerable people from fraud, but obviously until capacity is proven not to exist (which is complex) they presumably have the capacity to make bad decisions. Then remove anything with bank details from her flat. Hopefully she wont remember them or passwords, so wont make much sense should she call. Plus the attorney debit card is in your name.
My mum ranted for about six months, but then forgot. I used to tell her it was the bank's decision. (Which it was slightly true as I had had to unravel all the dodgy direct debits.) I wrote down a summary of her assets to reassure her that she was not broke - poverty in old age was clearly that worried her deeply, most probably from her childhood.
I pay as much as I can by standing order or bank transfer, or use the debit card. If I pay cash for something I normally transfer the amount immediately using my phone app. Once every six months or so I calculate approximate mileage (my mother is two and a half hours away) and credit myself for that. I don't charge for my time though the wording of the POA allows for it. In short everything goes through her account and I keep her and my finances separate. This saves a lot of paperwork.
Attorney rules state that Attorneys are not allowed to borrow or lend, which means banks are unlikely to allow overdrafts or credit cards. This can lead to liquidity problems, as the only way to get a decent return on savings is via longer term deposits, yet expenses (I have just had to organise some emergency 24 hour care, as my mother is a a bit poorly and very confused, in the same month as a huge tax bill, but equally boilers can need replacing etc) come up randomly. In those circumstances I tend to transfer a round sum into her account and then transfer back the same round sum as soon as I can, rather than meet bills.
My mother is very well off. And my sibling is too busy earning a high salary to help. I feel strongly that whilst I need to support my mother, my family do not need to subsidise her and my brother. If she were less well off, I think I would try to broker a deal with my brother so he contributed to general expenses. It seems wrong that the one who does most, ends up out of pocket.
Mil has savings above the threshold but not vast amounts. We have a letter to say Shen has no capacity to manage finances. I’ve kept records of when we needed to use her card to pay for things etc and when I’ve needed to use mine (all documented on bank statements) and reimbursed myself.
Needmoresleep - I too feel that my family can’t subsidise MIL as we have our own expenses and any extra we do have should be used to treat my 12 yr old who misses out hugely by having days out interrupted so we can deal with yet another crisis or because I need to offer support practically.
The bank are sympathetic but because we have joint POA they legally have to send things to her which I only find out about when things go wrong.
I think you may need professional help. Do you have a joint POA with her? Is that possible? The POA account is a good solution which we used. If you have a document which says she has no capacity the Bank should act on it , I thought. It was covered in the Radio programme I mentioned.
It might be worth seeing a solicitor who specialises in POA/trusts to get some advice DB and I did and it was invaluable. Do not rely on what SS say!
( I have a jaded view of SS- their acceptance that I could drive for at least 7 hours between 8 and 4 and do the housework in the minutes after arriving and before leaving and then arguing with me that I must be doing it because he had told them I was, just left me speechless. )
If she has no capacity to deal with her finances and you have power of attorney you can take over her bank account and have it put in your poa name, we did this. We went to the building society with capacity assessment, poa paperwork and got issued a chequebook and debitcard . All future correspondence was addressed to us as POWER OF ATTORNEY followed by our name. What do you mean you have joint poa, who are the attorneys. This sounds like a safeguarding issue, she is obviously at risk if she goes out leaving the door unlocked, has gone missing before. Are adult safeguarding involved in her care. We see up direct debits for the household bills. I know it sounds cruel but what would happen if you stopped doing things for her, would social services then take your concerns seriously. Who would be doing all the things if you went on holiday.
Ha, I solved this by getting her to sign a mail redirect so all post came to me. (In fairness she was on mailing lists for every charity and dodgy marketing company that ever existed.) You can only do it for two years. But it allowed me to cancel a lot. I typed up letters for her to sign to pension companies, tax, utility and banks asking that my address be used as her correspondence address. They were happy as long as they had a signature.
I don't really understand what you mean by joint attorney but the above should do the trick. My mother has no memory and did not really notice stuff not coming in. It is far easier to do the admin in batches and not rely on finding stuff that may have been hidden.
Mail redirection is an excellent idea thank you. She is a huge safeguarding concern but ss are ignoring it. Her previous sw left and she’s not due another to be allocated until March. We have the police out looking for her at least once a week. She has carers twice a day and lives in sheltered accommodation so if we go away we rely on the warden to help us and sheer good luck that nothing too bad happens. Every holiday or weekend away we have had in the last two years has had some incident that we’ve had to sort out from a foreign country.
The cpn suggested we do too much for her so we stopped. Within days she’d withdrawn £13000 from a bank account (in a cheque which she promptly lost), been missing for hours on two occasions and set her microwave alight prompting a visit from the fire brigade. Nothing has been done despite me calling ss and cpn regularly.
Needmoresleep has a genius solution. Wish we had thought of re-directing the mail .
We discovered dad had shredded/lost share certificates. He decided to send them off to be consolidated after mum died. It took ages ( and a fortune) to sort them out when we needed to sell the shares to fund his care.
Crikey, has the cpn and the police written to social services outlining their concerns. I am surprised the warden hasn't intervened, she is a danger to her self and the other residents.
I used to work with folk with dementia - the whole capacity thing is a difficult one, because very often someone can present really well at an assessment, but all the family know they have lost the plot. Diary is the thing to do.
Help of all sorts is often refused.
I used to worry about the neighbours of folk like this, who were unknowingly at a fire risk because of the actions of their connected neighbours.
It was a conundrum. I do not envy you this.
I agree with retired now. I am surprised that she has not met the criteria for being unable to cope at home. She must be a danger to herself as well as others.
The incidents you describe need to go into your record of events. Ideally with police incident numbers if you have them. From what you say, I would try to do a retrospective one so you can use as a basis for discussion with the new social worker along with a contemporaneous record from now.
The police are amazingly helpful beyond belief, the only service to be this way. Every time we have to get them out, they raise a safeguarding concern with Ss. They totally get where I’m coming from and I have nothing but praise for them. I hate unnecessary use of public services but they tell me to call them out every time I need to.
Anyway I’ve spoken to ss and they are now allocating a new sw tomorrow. Who will be in contact for an assessment ‘in due course’.
We are on our knees as a family trying to juggle work, kids, post grad uni stuff and my own elderly, unwell mother (who takes a back seat every time).
Does the new social worker have specialist elderly mental health experience.
I’ve no idea, they rang before to arrange an urgent assessment.
We charged fil 45p mileage for visits etc as we were all travelling large distances to visit- the rate hmrc use for mileage which covers some costs. All detailed on a spreadsheet. Mail redirection is a godsend as need has said.
Just ask them if they have MH experience, good luck.
If she is in sheltered accomodation, there is a point where she will be too bad to fit the criteria. Have you spoken to the warder?
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