Family disagreement

Hi all.

I have been an avid lurker but am now posting for some advice please on a difficult situation please.

My husband and I (and sometimes our son) have been the main carers to my husbands elderly father for two years - he has just been admitted in the past 2 weeks to a self funding care home due to weakness, many falls, dementia as he couldnt live alone.

My husbands sister visits occasionally but wants him to go back to live in his house with carers. He does not want to do this but is unsure.

My husband and I cannot provide the care anymore to allow this to happen. We just can’t do it anymore. I am sure the motivaton is the cost of the home but to be honest we dont care about the inheritance - we just cant go back to how it was.We have tried with carers before and he didnt like it and sent them away so it fell to us.

There are no POA’s in place. Can we stop this happening? She (and others in the family) are adament that they want him back home. She is too far away to do any care herself and is a single parent with children that she concentrates on. Other family members are also too far away to help. There is only us and our son.

Any help gratefully received.
Thanks so much!

Forgot to add - my husbands father still has capacity.

If you’ve been lurking for a while, then no doubt you’ll have read of others in similar situations and the following may sound familiar.

No-one has to care for anyone else if they don’t want to - your father-in-law’s wants have to be disregarded to some extent and turned into his needs, those are what need addressing.

If he has dementia and regular falls he can’t just be sent home without a care package in place, that would be an “Unsafe Discharge”. There needs to be an assessment made for him by social services.

Get a POA in place.
Have you had a needs assessment done or not? No one can manipulate you into being a carer. In other words only you and your husband can decide for yourself. Listen to your heart. Call the local council tomorrow morning to start the process. Use a reputable provider, you can find details on the care quality commission website.
Tell him that the only other option is a trustworthy good care home.

Hello, A. Your father-in-law is now in the right place. He seems to be happy to stay there rather than return home. Carers at home have not worked out.

Don’t let your sister-in-law dictate otherwise. She does not appear willing or able to offer care herself. Even it she could, that would not be the best solution in view of your father-in-law’s condition.

You have done your share of caring and entitled to have a bit more time with your husband. Get the Power of Attorney sorted out, as others have suggested.

Your sister has NO RIGHT to insist that dad goes home unless she is prepared to give up her own life to care for him, as you have done. I suspect that she just doesn’t realise how much you have been doing, and the toll it has taken not just on your health, but also your life.
I supported 4 elderly parents living locally, for many years. When mum was in hospital, again, I’d spent the morning trying to get her home sorted out, again. The hospital wanted to discharge her after a 5 month stay, I said she wasn’t fit for discharge, they said she was.
Driving back to my home, a voice came into my head that said “I just can’t do this any more”. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help mum, but I was physically and mentally exhausted. My own health was poor and I also had endless problems relating to the care of my son with learning difficulties.
Ultimately, mum agreed to go into residential care for what turned out to be the last year of her life.
As for dad having “full capacity” what part of dementia do they not understand??
It means that his decision making is seriously flawed!
It is also a fact that elderly people become “self focussed”, their world has shrunk to just a room or two and they just don’t see how much others are doing for them.

Dad is in the right place, his dementia is never going to get better, he’s going to get MORE frail, MORE confused, need MORE help. If he goes home, under any circumstances, it will just be to fail again. Now is the right time for him to move into residential care. Is it a specialist nursing home for EMI (Elderly Mentally Infirm) patients?

Now to deal with the money aspects.
Who arranged the move into residential care?
Who is paying at the moment?
Is dad currently receiving Attendance Allowance?
Did you know that since the date of diagnosis he has been EXEMPT from Council Tax? It’s easy to claim a refund which can be BACKDATED to the day of diagnosis!!!
Regardless of whether anyone has POA or not, dad must have proper care organised for him by the NHS/Social Services, they can claim it back later.
How old is dad? How serious is his dementia at the moment?
It will take a while to sort everything out, and it will be quite stressful, so no more lurking in the shadows. The answer to every question will be directed at your situation, but will help countless others who read it too.

Hello again, A. I have had further thoughts and feel somewhat bothered by your situation. It involves in-laws, and these can often feature in family friction.

It is your husband’s father who has gone into a care home, and your husband’s sister who wants him back in his own home. It is great that you are supporting your husband, but you are not at the centre of the battle; your husband is. Your sister-in-law may claim that you are not a blood relative of her dad, so you have fewer rights than she has.

Your sister-in-law could claim Power of Attorney. If she were to achieve this, instead of your husband, she could use this power to influence the family to do things according to her wishes, not yours. It already sounds as though she is considering her inheritance.

Your husband needs to be in touch with a solicitor now - one with a good record of dealing with POA cases and a knowledge of care needs. Stress that it would be unsafe to discharge father-in-law from the care home. And be on guard when sister-in-law visits dad; she will try to persuade him to return home and put him under duress.

Has anyone else on this Forum any thoughts on this tricky family situation?

Definitely sort out the Power of Attorney asap. If possible, get it done by a solicitor, rather than DIY, to avoid any mud slinging by sister at a later date, saying your forced dad to sign.
My brother complained that mum had changed her will in my favour without him knowing, but it was all done by the solicitor. I had to let the solicitor into mum’s house, as she was immobile at this time. I went into the kitchen but the solicitor asked me to go into the garden, to ensure complete privacy, which I was happy to do. (I had used the same solicitors for 50 years)
After mum died brother arranged for a solicitor to write and ask for more money. My solicitor wrote back to his solicitor telling him politely where to go. Sometimes, it’s money well spent to use a solicitor! I haven’t heard from that brother since!

I agree with the other posters here. It would be far too unsettling for your father-in-law to be uprooted from the care home and brought back home, and confusing too with different carers coming in each day. When I was a social worker many moons ago I thought the elderly should be looked after by their family. Fast forward to when my own mother had Alzheimer’s and that was a different story.

It’s really not fair of your sister-in-law to ask her father to move back home and not be part of the care package for him - quite apart from the confusion of him moving back, that is.