I have Power of Attorney for my mother (both financial and health and welfare) can I force her to go into a home

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Hi all

I have power of attorney for my mother, which includes health and welfare. I believe that I cannot put this into practice unless my mother is no longer of sound mind.

But she is still refusing to have carers, and needs them. She did have carers twice daily until I moved into her street, even though I told her it was a bad decision. She thought I would take over from them and I made it clear that I wouldn't and couldn't.

Her mental health is deteriorating but her gp has ruled out dementia.

If she won't get carers in again (I can't enforce that as I can't pay for it) then the next step would be a care home. I am going away on holiday in a few weeks so wanted her to consider respite care although again, I cannot pay for it. She doesn't qualify for free care.

At what point can I use the POA card? Do I have to wait for a formal diagnosis? Despite what the gp says I do think she has dementia.
In addition I want to point out that my mother is not capable of caring for herself properly on a day to day basis. She is disabled with arthritis and has to walk around her flat with a zimmer frame. She can't go out without help.

Her legs are weak and she is unsteady on her feet a lot. A couple of years ago she was getting ready for bed and lost her balance and fell on the floor. Even though she has a lifeline pendant, she was unable to use it and she ended up on the floor all night until a regular carer let herself in first thing in the morning and found her. Mum was taken to hospital with pneumonia, which had set in because of laying on the floor in the cold all night.

Mum is extremely forgetful and misses meals, medication, doesn't wash properly, forgets even to change her underwear. She can't remember things even when it is written in her diary, she frequently asks me about things she has written down saying she doesn't know what they mean.

If I go there more often then of course she will be safe and comfortable but I have neither the patience or emotional stability to cope with her. I also have to work.
Hi Sue
I do understand you! Firstly I would telephone the office of public guardianship re your POA query.
The 2nd....
My husband has vascular dementia. To cut the post short, I went with him to his GP who did the ridiculous ( in my opinion) memory test. Hubby answered all of the questions with flying colours except that he said it was 1980. The doctor established from that consultatation that he hadn't any signs of dementia. Well very sadly he has. I and my family had suspicions dementia was setting in even though we were delighted to the doctor say that. Im sure you know your mother better and possibly know the signs and changes. The doctors do not always get it right!!
I can't answer you - but hopefully there are folk here who can, plus, of course, please do contact the team of experts at CUK (we are usually advised to email rather than try and get through on the phone!)

I'm wondering whether actually it's the other way round - that you'd be best advised to give up the PoA so that 'no one' is responsible for your mum, and therefore she has to be 'taken into care' on a safeguarding basis.

After all, if you went under a bus, what would happen? So, if you simply refuse to care for her any more - absolutely totally refuse, surely the GP/SS simply 'have' to step in, and if she refuses to accept care-workers coming in, then SS must (forcibly?) take her into care??

Not one of us has a legal responsibility to look after anyone else - BUT, if you have taken on PoA, especially for health and welfare I would be concerned that you have thereby somehow acquired that responsibility. (BUT whether that gives you power to enforce where she lives, I don't know!)

It's the reason I've absolutely refused to have ANY PoA in any respect at all for my MIL. Her surviving son is in the USA, and PoA would be tricky, obviously (plus he doesn't want it either). I absolutely and totally refuse to have any 'duty of care' towards her. And the thought of my son being 'forced' to care for her is even more abhorrent.

I think your strongest 'card' is that she is NOT in YOUR home - that would make 'evicting' her even more problematic.

Of course it's understandable your mum wants to go on living in her own home, and wants you to look after her....but that is not fair on you.

I hope others here can give you a more satisfactory answer.

Do you know which care home you think would be best for her, and have they got availability?
Thanks, Jenny and Pet.

I can't have myself removed from the POA as it would cost a couple of hundred pounds in legal fees. There was one other person named and she decided to be taken off. It cost my Mum 200 pounds.

The Finances and Property POA is useful because it means I can keep an eye on her account. Last year, she stupidly gave her bank details to a total stranger over the phone who was selling magazine subscriptions. I still don't know why she did that, she rang me straight away and was in a panic at what she had done. So I managed to sort it but not before 5 direct debits showed up on her account and all these magazines kept arriving in the post! It has taken weeks to get it all stopped but I wouldn't have been able to do anything if I hadn't had access to her account.

I do feel inclined to say to Mum, that as I have the health and welfare POA then I can bring carers in, whether she likes it or not but that sounds mean! She wants me to be her carer and she will keep doing and saying things to make me worry. Well I went away on Saturday for a few days to let her get on with it. I return on Saturday. I shall ask her how she has been. If she says what she usually says, ie negative and feeling sorry for herself, then I will say, see, you do need carers! If she didn't want or need carers then why does she keep asking me to do it?

I wrote her a long letter this week and she should receive it today. I basically pointed out my concerns and my advice. We'll see what happens. But I am not running around after her and risk my own health. I told her I will call in 2 or 3 times a week while I am out of work. I had to quit my job partly because of her. But I do need to work.
When did mum last have a Needs Asssessment from Social Services? When was your Carers Assessment last updated. They have a duty towards "vulnerable adults" and I would suggest that your next step was to contact them. Even if mum refuses to see them (which sounds a distinct possibility!) they should listen to your concerns.
I would suggest that you keep a brief diary about what mum is/is not doing, because her behaviour is "odd". Does a District Nurse ever visit?
If mum needs respite care, and agrees to go, then it should be mum paying, not you. As you have POA you should be able to arrange the funding. You cannot force mum into a home, but equally, she cannot force you to care for her. Remember, the only power she has over you is the power that you let her have.
You are perfectly entitled to go on holiday (essential for your own sanity I suspect), so if she refuses to co operate, write to the GP and SSD and say you will be away, unable to care for mum.
Can I ask if mum owns her home? This might affect your long term plans. Has mum always been strong willed and determined to have her own way?
Well, I agree it would be worse than useless to hand over PoA if she is still deemed to have capacity! But if you can get her to be deemed without capacity, then it might force SS's hand to 'take her into care'....

I'm not sure that debating with her whether she does or doesn't need carers is the heart of the issue, is it? She says she does want carers - but only YOU!

So the issue is who provides the care, not whether she needs it.

I'm afraid I wouldn't go on hoping that one day she'll 'accept' that you won't be her carer, because it's what she wants, so she isn't go to 'voluntarily' give up on it! And certainly not if her mind is going.

It's highly characteristic of the very elderly, especially, obvisously, if dementia is in the mix, to simply be incapable of understanding any one else's point of view - or that anyone else exists at all, except in relation to them!

It would be like expecting a three year old child to realise how much their mum does for them - and then to be appreciative of it!

We 'battle' with the very elderly to get them to 'accept' that we have our own lives to lead, and livings to earn, etc, but they genuinely can't understand that any longer.

You fear you will sound 'mean' if you tell your mum that you have the legal power to book careworkers for her, but I don't think it's 'mean' I think it's essential. She won't 'agree' and I guess even if you give careworkes a key she could always refuse to cooperate with them.

Maybe your best bet is simply to 'withdraw' completely from going anywhere near her? But then you would need most definitely to alert her GP/SS to what you were doing. This is where I am not clear myself on whether your PoA actually 'allows' you to 'withdraw care'.
One thought - if you changed your PoA to finance only, that would enable you to safeguard her money, but not place any 'obligation' (if such legally exists that is!) on you to look after her welfare (ie, entitle you to 'withdraw' your care, in order to 'force' her to accept care-workers, or for SS to 'take her into care'...)
PS again - sorry, just remembered this.

If your mum is still deemed to have mental capacity - ie, is still of sound mind - then SHE can withdraw PoA from you at any time, so I understand!

There was a very grim example of that here on the forum some time ago, when a daughter was horrified elderly dad, for whom she'd had PoA for finance, had 'fallen into the clutches' of a woman best described as a 'gold-digger' (or strongly suspected of being one!), and the poster reported that her father had informed her that his GP had blithely informed him that no, he didn't have dementia 'any more' (!!!!), and that he was therefore entitled to get financial control of his money again, which he promptly did, and moved away with the GD.....

That was scary!

In terms of establishing mental capacity, irrespective of the GP and those memory tests (not reliable, so many folk report - as in, their parents pass them, yet are clearly 'acopic' - can't cope with everyday life any more), what happened with my MIL was that I took her to my solicitor to redo her WIll under English law (she's Scots) 'just in case' but after about a minute of chatting to her, asking her her middle name, her son's name, etc, the solicitor took me aside and simply said 'You'll have to stick with her Scottish Will'.....she deemed her completely incapable of drawing up a new will in her mental state.

I don't know whether that's 'enforceable' but if a solicitor believes on evidence that there is a lack of soundness of mind, I don't see that a GP could better that!
I would strongly recommend leaving all the POA arrangements as they are.
A Power of Attorney means that legally, you are your mother.
So to use a simple example, you can sign cheques on your mother's account, in your name. You could even sell your mother's house, if she needed to sell it but couldn't manage to do it herself. There is nothing about POA which gives you any obligation or right other than the right to act on your mother's behalf, if required. The over riding principle is that you act in your mother's best interests.