Devastated by how it's all turned out

I took LPA for my dad in November, after his partner, I’ll call her N, explained that he had lost a lot of money in scams and was struggling with dementia, severe liver damage and his ongoing alcoholism. He’s not got long left. She was also at the end of her tether with his care needs and needed some help. The house itself was literally falling apart. I live 200 miles away from them so I tried to help in what ways I could remotely. I also barely know N, only seeing her briefly when I visited my dad.

I got refunds on the scams (five in total), paid off their debts (there were a lot), organised their bills and organised a monthly allowance for N as she was having difficulty getting her Carer’s Allowance. I also accessed his investments and fixed up the house: replaced boiler (heating hadn’t worked for three years), installed stair rails to stop falls, got a mobility chair with lift plus a multitude of other accessories, got an exterminator round to deal with the mice, organised monthly delivery of non-alcoholic wine and cancelled all the huge wine subscriptions etc. A lot of stuff. It took nearly six months to get to the end of it. I also organised an extremely generous grocery budget and a weekly cleaner for N.

When it came to care, N was insistent on having friends round to do it. As N is a professional carer, this made sense to me. My father did not take well to the care, however, and N was not keeping my updated. She could barely tell me who had been round, and despite me insisting on invoices, all of her “friends” were cash-in-hand and couldn’t seem to commit to a schedule. I would send her the money directly and I’d see from the grocery card (I keep my dad’s main money separate to her grocery allowance) that she was just drawing it out in cash. Regardless, I gave her some “respite” money, so she could have a few days off after many months of difficulty. She could not tell me if she took it or not.

The real red flag cropped up when N insisted one private carer, lets call him S, would be willing to do 30 hours a week. I’d spoken to him before and gotten the impression that wasn’t likely. So I called him, and he said that he had been trying to quit for weeks, and could barely do the five hours he had already, but felt guilty and wanted to help. I let him go and began to have serious doubts about N’s capacity to care for my dad. This friend, S, seemed scared of N.

Additionally, N got very angry with me when I chased for invoices. I had purchased her an invoice book, and had advised she keep records for both of our safety. A few hundred a month adds up fast. She again, went ballistic, and I got a flood of texts threatening to leave and accusing me of wanting her out. She then begun begrudgingly sending invoices that just did not look right, and sending nasty texts trying to provoke me into a fight.

I called up N and insisted on a care agency. I organised the funds from investments to cover it for 12 years, and angled high with 30 hours a week. After research I selected a very HQ national agency that specialised in dementia. After going through the paperwork and my father’s care needs, the carers started off at ten hours a week. There was an instant improvement in my dad’s health. He began playing board games, engaging in conversation and took well to being bathed multiple times a week. Prior he would go months without bathing and getting very aggressive about it.

N went ballistic. Despite agreeing to the carers, kept saying she didn’t want them, that the friends were cheaper, that she was worried about the money, that there was no point because she was doing everything before (absolutely not), that she wanted her friends back. She’d send me pics at 1am of a single plate in the sink, going off about how the carers were useless.

I booked her respite with the care agency and she got even madder, saying she didn’t want it. I pointed her to the text where she had requested respite and she said she had just “changed” her mind and that I should not have booked the respite. Then she’d complain that she wanted the rest of the house done and I’d have to explain that we needed to wait for the money. She’d act like the wait was my fault, even though things were moving excruciatingly slow due to COVID delays.

I tried to reassure her, and spoke to the care agency to ensure that they were keeping the house clean to her standards. I could however, see from the notes that she was actively blocking care on a number of points. For example, she’d get annoyed that the caregivers offered my dad a selection of clothes (she’d normally just pick for him), that they didn’t “wake him up” early enough, and that they weren’t entertaining her or paying her enough attention.

I went to see them, visited on a train. I was surprised at how cold N was. When I told her that my dad was dying, she had no response. She looked blank and started some tedious monologue about a plate she’d washed earlier. She also complained continually about “abuse allegations” from one of the carers, and told me delightedly how she’d got the carer fired for complaining about her.

I was mostly focused on spending time with my dad on my week there, but at the time it spooked me somewhat. I also noticed that the way she treated my dad was not great, very lacking in compassion. My dad is difficult, but I found him very reasonable provided you speak to him with respect, patience and empathy, as the carers do. She is also extremely patronising to him, talks about him like he’s not there about embarrassing things (she’ll literally go off on anecdotes about a poo he had somewhere and you could just see his face collapsing) and honestly, doesn’t really seem to know much about him at all.

A few weeks after I visited, the care agency flagged a concern. Namely, that N had been caught verbally humiliating my father in front of the builder and a carer. She was riling my dad up, having a go at him about how useless he was, and trying to get the builder to join in on the abuse. The carer and builder just looked on in horror. The care agency and I put it down to “lockdown” madness and a note was added to the system to monitor her closely and be on the alert for incidents.

It was around here, that I decided to block her. Not the best way to deal with it, but the thought of getting a phone call from her was giving me nightmares. She’s so unhinged and anxious and sort of desperate for drama. And the texts. I work full-time and have done through this. It was like I couldn’t get an escape from it at all, with her texting and calling me at all hours with her latest complaint, and never a word about the improvements or thanks for any of my help. Just always more problems. And the more I ignored her, the angrier she’d get. She started leaving shouty voicemails. Combined with organising my dad’s ongoing care and the grief of his upcoming death and current loss of self and sanity, it was just too much.

So I blocked her, and kept my emails open (I send her the care schedule, which got rejigged to suit her preferences. They get two hours a day every day, and three long afternoons a week - including a 11-7 on Saturday). I booked more building work, for further stair rails, bathroom improvements and levelling out the pathways and garden - among other things. I had arranged and agreed about these things with N in the months prior.

Then, last week, the final straw came. I got a panicked email from the builder, saying that N was screaming at him, insulting him and was now no longer letting him into the house. That he had brought materials and didn’t know what to do. That she was saying her friends could have the materials instead. He was very emotionally distressed.

I suggested a break from the building works. He took one and then tried again. She harassed him with text messages late at night, telling him that I was doing the house up to sell it (I mean, if that were the case I’d definitely not be spending thousands on hideous metal railings and flattening floors, but never mind) and that I wanted her out. She called him numerous insults and when he turned up again, literally slammed the door in the face.

He was sorry but he had to quit. I agreed to stop the bulk of the works, but asked for the railings be completed (still need bedroom and upstairs ones), if not by him, then one of his team. He agreed, I paid him for 2/3 of the job, and I reported the behaviour to the care agency. They asked for email evidence, so I sent them the panicked emails where the builder outlined N’s abuse. The care agency said her blocking safety accommodations for my dad was a very serious things indeed.

So now N is under investigation via the care agency and honestly, I don’t know what to do. On the one hand, she’s hurting my dad, on the other hand, she’s his partner of 20 years. The best case outcome it seems, is that she’s evicted from the house. In that instance I would use the money spent on her (she rinses through the grocery allowance, takes loads out in cash, is in overdraft every month, and also uses it for her own items and treatments despite her generous personal allowance) and spend it on the care agency, for more care and companionship. But would he be happy? And despite hating her, I obviously do not feel wonderful about being a potential cause of removing someone from their home of 20 years.

But then if she’s hurting him, like this, if the builder is an insight into what his life with her is like, then she absolutely needs to leave. He’s a vulnerable old man with dementia. The thought of kicking him like that, when he’s so down, disgusts me.

And then what if the investigation is fruitless, she realises and finds another way to attack me, and takes it out on my dad in the absence of me and the builder.

I guess every road is bad, and all of my actions seem somewhat pointless. I’m not sure what the punishment is for, if that makes sense? I feel like I’ve screwed it all up somehow.

What a difficult position you are in with regard to your fathers partner
Sounds as if there is a serious safeguarding issue and perhaps Social Services should be involved at this stage to take a look at what is happening
You have been doing a great job managing your dads affairs

Thank you! The care agency has said it’s very likely to go through Social Services and potentially the police. They’re flagging it with their head office first and sifting the care notes for evidence along with the emails. I’m anxiously waiting to see what happens next.