Getting a needs assessment reassessed

Hi sorry for yet another post. I just wanted to know if it is possible to have a needs assessment reassessed.

Mum had one recently, however I don’t think it was done properly. Although the person tried her best there are massive gaps based on perceived capabilities.

A lot of people seem to say mums needs are based on mental health however I am now beginning to beg to differ even though they are present.

The phrase “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” comes to mind. It’s the idea that my mum just lacks basic life skills and knowledge combined with her health which just makes this happen. Yet she doesn’t seem to be able to learn them on her own.

This is why we are fighting for assisted accommodation.

I just don’t think they have taken this into account, and it’s getting more and more apparent how incapable she is following a series of complex steps.

It’s hard to describe, but I’ll throw this hypothetical situation out there. I suppose this situation could easily happen and is just a reflection of what is happening.

Say the kitchen tap broke in her rented home. Most people would know exactly how to approach the landlord and sort this but she does not. The landlord is already good anyway.

But the thing social services do not understand is the steps it takes for someone to do that.

Like step 1 would be - recognising the problem
(Usually at this point panic sets in)
Step 2 - would be to check if it’s something that can be fixed.
Step 3- would be the arrangement to speak to the landlord gathering numbers. Using Google to find these.
Step 4- using a smart phone or computer to go on the website to report the problem.
Step 5- write a description of the problem
Step 6 - take photos and upload them via computer or mobile (this is required)
Step 7- receive confirmation of the landlord and book a time
Step 8 - keep track of that time.

I know I said it was a hypothetical situation but the steps here are accurate and is something that has to be done to contact the landlord. I have followed all these steps in the past.

To an able bodied person, they would be able to do that. But to mum there are so many steps involved it’s possible to see how daunting it is. However imagine that with most things in life and that is where you have my mum.

She needs help with most things like this to manage the home. However they just don’t see it like this.

I’m wondering if mum has mental health issues, or learning difficulties?

My son was brain damaged at birth, can’t read, write or do any maths, but he soon tells me if there is something wrong with things in his flat, and wants it sorted, pronto! He knows the name of his landlord, and the letting agent, where their offices are etc.
However, he doesn’t know where his weekly money comes from, and can’t count it, at all.
He can be trusted to light up and look after our 10 ton steam roller too. The brain works in mysterious ways.

You know your mum better than anyone else.
Using my son as a comparison, I’m wondering if mum has a learning difficulty?
Has she ever been able to manage her life on her own?
How did she bring you up?
What education did mum have? Pass any exams?
What was dad like with her?

Issues involving the brain and learning are very complex. At one stage when he was young, one of our friends was married to a special needs advisor for Wiltshire, so she knew M socially through our family interest in steam engines. One afternoon at her house she invited M to try some children’s computer programmes, and was stunned to see how he struggled with even the simplest programme for 2 year olds. She told me she had absolutely no idea about his educational issues until then!!

I don’t like suggesting anything medical, as I have no training at all, but I feel for you in your situation.
Something has to change and no one seems to be taking you seriously, which adds to the stress.

I won’t explain too much as it would be unfair to my mum. However, she had a very difficult upbringing with abuse in multiple forms. She was also forced to give up formal education at a young age, and too was a young carer aged just 15. Her mum died aged 16. She was also bullied in the household too. There are many questions that remain unanswered about her upbringing. My questions anyway. I think she doesn’t understand herself that a lot of it was wrong, though we don’t know what they are.

She is also the youngest of five with 16 years apart from the oldest. The next youngest of the five is extremely disabled and has the mind of a child. She is in care. (Another story) The next two are very unusual individuals. The oldest she’s nice, if not abit more cynical in her older age.

Mum is intelligent in her own right, she knows her music history and has good memory l. (We’ll the things she wants to remember) However, I am not sure she adapted to life as well as she should have done.

She finally escaped properly from her abusive family in her late 20s. She met my dad and not long after I came along. That was the turning point in her life.

Her social skills are exceptional, and are beyond the behaviour of a normal person. As good as that sounds she wants to be entertained 24/7.

Now that you mention learning difficulties, mums understanding of the world is not on par with the average person. Emotionally she gets quite hurt at language and phrases that she doesn’t understand. Quite often she looks for nuances in simple conversations trying to understand what it means and how someone is interacting with her. I know that may suggest autism, but it’s different than that. Socially she understands, but written words not so much. It’s a good job I’m a-bit of a wordsmith and use language every day for my job. If she doesn’t understand she is incredibly irritating asking me all the time. This can be caused by something as simple as an emoji.

Dad would always whinge at her for not having a real hobby too. She did things but never anything “productive” you may say. A lot of the time it was watching certain types of videos on YouTube, or doing puzzle books. We tried many times to get her into something but it never worked out.

It was also the same watching tv or movies with her, she could never understand what is happening.

It’s because of this why I’m getting incredibly peed of when SS say it is a mental health problem, or she is just grieving my dad. She was like this when he was alive. I know mental health is there, I have it too. However as crippling as it is I can manage it with a busy work life. With me I call it selected agrophobia. I follow the same route to work everyday which makes it easier. If mental health services made her “happy” the problems would persist.

Other things she does understand, I spoke to her tonight about what needs to happen. She knows a how to clean and do the washing. She loves ironing. However, she cannot follow a schedule.

She too has said exactly what she wants. We both want her to get assisted accommodation in a specific part of the city though that part is very wide. We live in the nicer part of the west of you class it as that. The east is known to be bad, and is where my mum had a difficult upbringing so does not want to go back. However social services are encouraging it to make it “quicker.” That place is also my trigger point. My sister who is partially sighted also lives in the west part. She needs help with somethings too. Mum also needs familiarity so it will not work.

That’s a really sad situation, mum didn’t really have a chance to flourish as a child, from all you have said.
The Human Rights Act says she has a “right to a normal family life” and so it’s right to say she wants to be near your sister, not in the area she has such bad memories of.

Thank you. Yes it is very sad. I can understand that SS see this as a mental health concern, but I see it as a developmental concern. My dad kind of stupidly did everything for her when he was alive so for 24 years she didn’t have to do much too.

Mums demons have very much affected her life and she needs a lot more than chatting to someone to make it worthwhile. The social worker has agreed with me that assisted accommodating would be extremely beneficial to her needs. The trouble is social services do not communicate and some of the people have not taken the family needs into account. My sisters deteriorating condition needs to be taken into account, but as she always says people just do not understand blindness. People just assume you can either see or you can’t.

The western side is also better than the east in terms of its location and its acsess to shops. The east is just a huge council estate, there are no local shops just a tiny shopping centre in the middle of it. Even then there is no supermarket there. My dad always used to joke you’d need 6 busses to get a pint of milk, but it’s kind of true. The west is not exactly posher by no means, the houses are just bigger, shopping areas are in close range. Busses are every 10 minutes. There’s multiple supermarkets. It’s super close to town centre. Above all it is just home.

I got a phone call from the housing place today, and they did tell me that apparently the list has just got a whole lot shorter after loads of residents have moved on. It’s very odd and that came from the horses mouth, so I don’t know what all this talk about long waiting lists is.

Maybe it’s time for you to make a “Subject Access Request” to the council Social Services Department asking for a copy of mum’s file - you will need to get mum to sign a consent form for you to deal with this. I was shocked at some of the things social workers had written about me and my son. If there is anything inaccurate you can ask for it to be corrected.
With regard to the waiting list, you can make a “Freedom of Information Request” and ask the council for details of the waiting list, average waiting times, or whatever you feel is relevant.

My dad dealt with all the family business, bank accounts etc. After he died I tried to get my mum interested and involved. I made it as easy as possible, I thought for her. I bought lever arch files, dividers, sleeves etc. but one day she rang me up to say she wasn’t strong enough to open the file to put things in - she had no idea how a lever arch file opened.
In the end she asked me to deal with it all, her only concern was that she had enough money available to buy things from her clothing catalogue!!!

Yeah, thanks for this I will have to look into it.

The thing is we live in a world that is so full of red tape, so consent is everything, rightly so in some regard. But if someone can’t understand what you are trying to do consent is pretty useless. Capacity is also a term they keep using, and that really winds me up. Again fair enough, but capacity is so subjective. They say to me that capacity also means ‘someone has the choice to make bad decisions.’ again I guess so. However, if you are vulnerable to the world and put yourself in danger then that is just bad, then what is the point of social services if that is true. Free will does not mean that someone should not get help. These are all things I have been told.

I know you cant force someone to do something. Its like the rent if I left mum to do it, it would not get paid leading to serious consequences. The point here is she is not choosing to not pay the rent, she doesn’t have the means to do it, and that is completely different. It isn’t about teaching her, because I have tried to teach her other things and she just cant grasp the concept. Consent and capacity do not exist in this situation. I tried to teach her to use the TV Guide to change channels instead of flicking through each one individually, she could not grasp it. Teaching her how to use Netflix and anything else is just a complete no go.

The trouble is here is SS seem to think that because she is responsive, and has working arms and legs she is fine. But that is not the case.

The point of assisted accommodation is to almost shrink her world into something more managing and understanding. In a sense assisted accommodation can cater for her whole life apart from the shopping part. I can manage her finances pretty easily, it will be even easier in one of these places.

Hi Coolcar98

Mental Capacity is often misused through poor training or I suspect to make life easier for professionals who should know better.

Obviously I’ve no idea whether or not this is happening in your case, and largely what you’ve been told is correct. However, there are specific stages that must be successfully gone through in order to make a decision. The quality of the decision is not part of the assessment - we’re allowed to make poor decisions. Which is probably a good thing.

So, an individual must be able to:

  1. Take in and understand the facts and information they need to make the decision.
  2. Remember the information for long enough to make a decision.
  3. Weigh up the information - pros and cons - in order to make the decision, and to make it.
  4. Communicate the decision.

Any one of those areas could be a problem for someone.

It’s a complicated area: taking my word for this won’t help against a social worker who disagrees with these points. So here’s a link to the latest government booklet on the topic. - the specific information is on page 8.