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Caring for elderly relatives? Supercarers can help

Carers

What if they won't prepare for future?

13 replies

LikeAKipper · 25/11/2023 14:39

Hi all, my DM has a multitude of health issues, both physical and MH but does still live at home. I am not her carer, but do help out as much as I can and I'm her only child.

The trouble is, I can see a point in the not too distant future where mum needs a lot more care. Her personal hygiene is incredibly bad - social services have been involved a number of times, but always fade away as she's considered in control of her MH enough to make her own decisions. She is also bad at feeding herself properly, or managing her finances. But again - she's deemed able to decide for herself. And on that basis, I also can't get POA.

She is a very tricky character. Won't talk about the future (just says she'll shoot herself - obviously she won't, she's just avoiding discussing it). Won't address the need to save money or make plans.

But what happens at the point she needs more - am I basically expected to provide or pay for it if she's frittered everything she has away? She had quite a lot of money but actually says she's damned if the state gets hold of any of it, so she's spending it on stupid stuff. She won't let me arrange cleaners or carers. She doesn't want me in her house providing more help.

What happens in these kind of situations? I'm sure shes going to end up with dementia as she's already showing early signs and she's very overweight with poor mobility, I would struggle to lift her etc if I needed to.

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Jaq27 · 25/11/2023 15:06

Hi,
The situation can be complex. My father was mentally able but very physically disabled when one of his 'carers' took out POA over him which us daughters knew nothing about.
That was a very stressful time for us when we found out (in our case he was suffering financial abuse, kept from family etc) However ... what I'm trying to say is, you can probably take out POA to protect your DM's care etc. without her express permission.
There are three different kinds of POA (we found out much to our surprise). Once we'd got the 'carer's' POA revoked we got advice from a solicitor and were able to take out POA even though dad was mentally capable. So we could represent him and the ongoing and future care he needed. We could manage his financial affairs, pay his carers etc.
More info here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/making-decisions-for-someone-else/giving-someone-power-of-attorney/#:~:text=There%20are%203%20different%20types,and%20ordinary%20power%20of%20attorney.
Maybe go to Citizen's Advice or consult a solicitor to find out what's best for you and your DM?
Wishing you all the best.

nhs.uk

Giving someone power of attorney - Social care and support guide

Read about putting in place a power of attorney, which can give you peace of mind that someone you trust is in charge of your affairs.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/making-decisions-for-someone-else/giving-someone-power-of-attorney/#:~:text=There%20are%203%20different%20types,and%20ordinary%20power%20of%20attorney.

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LikeAKipper · 25/11/2023 15:18

Thank you @Jaq27 that's helpful. She really won't forgive me if I do this but I'm beginning to think it may be necessary.

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Octavia64 · 25/11/2023 15:21

If she has frittered away all her money then you do not need to pay for care (on the assumption she hasn't given it to you!)

Most people don't plan for their care.
They don't like to think about when they will need help and be unable to cope on their own.

You may feel guilted in providing care because the standard of care provided by social services is very low, and many relatives are uncomfortable with it.

However, you don't have to.

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AcrossthePond55 · 25/11/2023 15:25

@LikeAKipper

But what happens at the point she needs more - am I basically expected to provide or pay for it if she's frittered everything she has away?


To the best of my knowledge, you would have no legal responsibility to pay for your mum's care or to provide physical care.

However, if you and she have any joint bank accounts if there's any money that belongs to you, I'd move it into a sole account. Simply having your name on her account (only her funds) would not make you liable to pay for anything.

If you are living in the same house, although not legally required, I'd assume that any service providers (Dr, hospitals, SS) would expect that you'll be the one to care for her and will probably push back if you try to get funding for/additional carers.

It's such a struggle when one's parents start to lose their capacity to make wise decisions. My own mum suffered from dementia but luckily she believed in planning so had signed medical and financial POA and did good estate planning well in advance of her mental decline. If she had been like your mum and refused we would have had to go to court and obtained legal guardianship once she was non compos mentis.

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Jaq27 · 25/11/2023 15:26

@LikeAKipper She might feel comforted if she can see it as you caring for her ... but I totally understand.
Even when my dad was wheelchair bound and needed to be fed, had double incontinence etc. he was fiercely independent and lived in his own adapted flat. That's what shocked us about POA - how easy it is for a stranger/non-family member to take out POA on another person.
At least if you have POA you can tell your DM that you will support her wishes as time goes on.

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LikeAKipper · 25/11/2023 18:39

@AcrossthePond55 fortunately no we don't live in the same house, she lives about 20 mins away (she moved to be closer to us). Would that proximity still mean I'd automatically be expected to provide all care?

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LikeAKipper · 25/11/2023 18:43

@Jaq27 Yes so tricky. With mine, it's not even that's she's fiercely independent - she has quite complex MH issues (though not bad enough to mean she's considered not in control of her own decisions), including delusions and compulsive lying. She lives in a real la la land at the best of times just believing what she wants to believe and gets really quite aggressive with anyone who challenges that reality so it's very hard to come into her world to try and do mundane things like cleaning or talk about finances etc. This isn't tied to her age though, she's always been like this and is part of why she's alone as she's incredibly hard to have a relationship with.

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TryAgainWithFeeling · 25/11/2023 18:47

You can expect adult services etc to attempt to guilt you in to care. But they cannot actually force it, and in many cases the only way to get a proper care package seems to be for relatives to refuse care. Not how it should be, but the reality of the current system.

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IrresponsiblyCertainAboutSexualDimorphism · 25/11/2023 19:00

LikeAKipper · 25/11/2023 18:39

@AcrossthePond55 fortunately no we don't live in the same house, she lives about 20 mins away (she moved to be closer to us). Would that proximity still mean I'd automatically be expected to provide all care?

No. Social services, hospitals etc. will try to make you, but they can’t. When the time comes, repeat “I am not her carer” “I will not be able to take on her care”.

If she does agree to give you POA that makes no difference at all. You cannot be made to be someone else’s carer. Obviously it’s not as clear cut as that in real life - you’ll still do whatever it is that you are able to do, the care available may be patchy, and you’ll probably do all the admin/advocacy, but the bottom line is it’s not in any way your legal responsibility to provide the care yourself - either physically or financially.

If she has money, she will be expected to self-fund, until she reaches the threshold for council funding. If she goes into residential care her house, if she owns it, will need to be sold to pay for it.

There’s an elderly parents section on here. They have all been in your shoes.

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fernsandlilies · 25/11/2023 19:05

@Jaq27 I'm sorry to hear about your dad's experience but I think you may have misunderstood the POA situation. The only person who can create a POA is the person who is giving the power to others to decide for them.

Nobody can "take out a POA" on another person.
Perhaps your dad was duped into signing something by his carer?

so the OP cannot get a POA for her mother unless the mother agrees to do it, and the mother can only do that whilst she still has mental capacity. Obviously the actual form filling can be done by either person, but it is the mother who has to sign in front of witnesses as the donor of the POA.

A POA for money and finances can be used as soon as it is registered, but a POA for health and welfare can only be used once the person has lost capacity to make their own decisions.

This is different from a Deputyship, which can only be granted once the person has lost capacity, and is granted by the court of protection.

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Nonplusultra · 25/11/2023 19:18

I wonder if you could guide a discussion in terms of her wishes and preferences - maybe starting by focusing on the things she doesn’t want.

Not letting the state get their hands on her money leads naturally into wills (dying without a will generally benefits the taxman). And it’s a good intro to a PoA discussion too. Or might lead into the stay at home vs nursing home discussion.

Saying that she’s planning to shoot herself could lead to a discussion about not being kept alive by machines, and putting a DNR in place.

With one of my relatives, these discussions took place over a period of months and years with a lot of rambling monologues in between. I’d bring it up again on the next visit “you know how we were talking about xxxx well I looked that up for you on the internet and actually it’s like this” and very slowly built up trust that I was taking their viewpoint seriously, and taking an interest. I never pushed too fast, never challenged a point until the next visit even when I knew better.

At each step I’d just establish a small, relatively innocuous fact “ so you’d rather stay in your own home as long as you can” and then drop it. Just reflecting back what they had said, but drip-drip-drip normalising these discussions.

Even if what they want is unreasonable, if you nod along initially it takes the fight out of it, and makes it easier for them to see that there might be an exception. There’s absolutely nothing to be gained in arguing about it, especially if logic doesn’t cut it.

When carers became necessary we pitched it as a necessary concession to coming home from hospital - making it sound like it was at the hospital’s insistence rather than ours. Once the initial resistance to the carer was overcome (and careers are used to working through this phase), it was a huge life quality improvement and in some respects that was the biggest hurdle.

I’m writing this out as if it was just that simple, when in reality it often felt like getting sucked in to the madness. I’m sending you so much sympathy!

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AcrossthePond55 · 26/11/2023 13:17

LikeAKipper · 25/11/2023 18:39

@AcrossthePond55 fortunately no we don't live in the same house, she lives about 20 mins away (she moved to be closer to us). Would that proximity still mean I'd automatically be expected to provide all care?

I agree with @IrresponsiblyCertainAboutSexualDimorphism

They may expect it, but they can't make you, legally. However, they can pressure you and use emotional blackmail.

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BorgQueen · 28/11/2023 18:09

You can’t take out POA without the signature of the person concerned.
I’ve just started filling in the forms for me and DH.
I don’t see how a ‘carer’ could have done it?

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