Stepmother refusing carers entry and accusing me of stealing

Hi there. I’m in a really horrible situation currently and would really appreciate any advice.

I took LPA for my dad last year after it became apparent that he was ravaged by dementia, alcoholism and had lost over £15,000 in scams. The house was also literally falling apart and he was having falls nearly once a week. I organised 30 hours of care a week, fixed up the house (railings, bath chairs etc), replaced the boiler, sorted the bills, got refunds on the scams etc. I live 200 miles away so this was a pretty arduous task.

His partner, N, took a strong dislike to me from the start. She tried to intimidate me into not getting a care agency, preferring instead her cash-in-hand uninsured friends, and seemed to take it personally when I installed a super high quality dementia specialist agency - lashing out at the carers daily.

The care agency flagged up some abusive behaviour on her part towards my dad too. They did an investigation, but found nothing substantial beyond possible emotional abuse from the way N screams, shouts and occasionally humiliates him - all of which she has done in front of the care agency.

Three weeks ago, she began lashing out at the contractor who was there to install the final grab rails in the upstairs corridor . She slammed the door in his face and called him names, then threatened to call the police if he came to the house again. He stopped the work, my dad fell days later in the place he was about to fit the grab rails.

Last but not least, I go onto the accounts on Thursday to pay the care agency and pay in the spending money for groceries and pads. I am blocked. I ring up the bank, and it turns out that the accounts are frozen. No one can get in (including my dad), and no money can get out - including direct debits. They were very cagey with information, and I felt very odd about the interaction.

I told the care agency, and it transpired that N had ended the care an hour early that day, kicking the carers out the house. They noticed a taxi pulling up as they left. She took my dad to the bank. Strange, as all of his carers drive and would have been happy to escort them both to the bank in their special mobility car (has in-built lift etc), as they do with the shopping and medical appointments.

I called Safe Guarding and the police. I then spoke to the bank again, and they told me that my dad had accused me of stealing and had shut me out of the accounts. And that the accounts were frozen due to the security risk, and could only be unfrozen by my dad in-person. I explained about the dementia and his lack of mobility, but as far as they were concerned, I was robbing my dad.

This hurt and felt like I’d been shot in the chest. It has been a living nightmare organising his affairs. I have developed two chronic pain conditions since I started, both caused by stress. I’m not exaggerating when I say doing this has been killing me.

My dad was not the best father. I like and respect him, in a number of ways we have similar interests and traits, but his alcoholism made him hugely neglectful, and he also pretended that my mother wasn’t sexually abusing me when I was a small child. He admitted he knew one time when he was near black-out drunk and he said he was too scared to do anything (no sorry, of course), and we never spoke of it again. No point now, he’s lost his mind.

I stepped in out of duty, and because I felt so sorry for him, he is a husk of his former self and he is dying. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. The way it’s turning out is a slap in the face.

I calmed down and accepted that paranoid delusions are a common symptom of dementia. I spoke to my dad. He didn’t remember anything. He was very unhappy about the accounts, but did not understand why they weren’t working. He got very upset. He said that he never thought I was stealing. I reassured him, suggested he get a solicitor to oversee his accounts if he felt I was unable, and said he needed to get to the bank as soon as possible to ensure they had money. He kept denying his condition, saying he was perfectly well. Just to emphasise, he is dying of severe liver damage and has dementia.

I also said that he could potentially pay the care bills at the bank himself with a bit of help from the agency and myself in terms of invoices. He agreed. He would be unable to do these things on his own, but with guidance and reassurance from a carer it could be possible, I reasoned. His capacity varies hour to hour. One hour he’ll beat you at the chess, the next he’s gurgling in front of the television like a three-year old, spouting strange made up words and asking you the same question 11 times.

I sent the care agency in first thing. N was not aware the carers were turning up. They stepped in on a monumental row. N screaming at him that me and my partner are stealing his money. Then screaming at him that there is no money (accounts frozen, remember) and it’s all gone, and that’s my fault. Carers try to explain accounts ought to be safe and money should be in, they just need to go to the bank and unfreeze. She turns on them and starts screaming that they’re not allowed to tell her what to do. She was so volatile that both carers there logged an incident of abuse, both towards my dad, and towards them.

I log again with the police and Safe Guarding, and seek advice on how to deal with the bank.

Yesterday, the care agency turn up and the safe key doesn’t work. They can’t get into the house. They knock and she comes to the door and says she’s going to ring the police for harassment. She tells them to go, she does not want the care anymore. They tell her politely that the care contract is between them, my father and his LPA (me), and that they will need to speak to both my father and me to confirm the cancellation if that is the case.

Then, one of N’s friends emerges from the house, and joins in with N, telling them the carers they are no longer welcome, and aggressively requesting my dad’s care notes, for reasons I can’t fathom. They refuse, and in retaliation both N and her friend begin shouting at them together. The carers leave, and both log an incident report again. They are particularly disturbed that this random friend of N’s appears privy to many personal details about my father and are like, in shock, that some random woman was just demanding my dad’s private care notes from them.

They call my dad, dad confirms that he wants the care.

I log again with the police and Safe Guarding, I get a call from Safe Guarding and they confirm I am being investigated by the police. I know that I have done nothing wrong but I feel very, very scared. Like I’m in some kind of nightmare. Anyway, I digress.

This morning, carers turn up and N blocks their entry again. This time they ask to come in for 15 minutes to just see my dad and get his confirmation. They explain again that N cannot legally stop the care. They enter and my dad says that he wants to cancel the care. Neither N or my dad give a reason, they just “do not want it anymore”.

Care agency are reporting to police and Safe Guarding. Care agency also compiling notes and evidence. Using one carer as an advocate for my dad when the police turn up for the welfare check. Carers’ supervisor is turning up tomorrow to try and talk to them and understand what is happening.

Meanwhile, there is no money, and my dad is not receiving any care. They bathe him, they feed him, change his pads and his bed, they play board games with him and they take him to his weekly blood tests (needed for liver damage) and check-ups.

If it’s not paid, the care will run out in three weeks - we’re eating into the deposit now. Prior to the care, he was not eating, would go months without bathing and his pads would explode because he’d forget to change them. His mood was so bad I honestly thought that he had lost the capacity to play board games. He was better within weeks after the care agency turned up. I went to visit him a few months ago, after he got his second jab, and he was clean, somewhat cheerful and bragging about his board game wins and how impressed the carers are with his darts trophies. Night and day to how it was before.

It will bounce to Social Services, but because he is above the threshold, he will have to organise his own care. He can’t even turn on a microwave. When I asked Social Services what would happen if he cancelled the care they said they didn’t know, it was a complex situation, and as I myself am under investigation it is difficult what they can and can’t share. They told me to be prepared for anything and everything, but also said that I have done a very good job looking after my dad and not to worry too much.

I am really, really scared, and stressed, and exhausted. Has anyone experienced anything like this? What will likely happen?

It would appear that N has completely lost the plot!
I won’t go into details why, but I have had terrible accusations made against me, and the hurt has never healed. If dad has no money he will have to temporarily go into respite care, this would be a place of safety for him. However N is the real problem.
It’s time to sort her out. I would consult a solicitor to determine if she has any right to stay in dad’s house and call in a locksmith to change the locks, try and get an injunction against her to stop harassing dad, and try to get the Police to arrest her, which would give you enough time to deal with the lock situation! You still have the POA which cannot be withdrawn as dad has dementia he lacks the capacity to do this.