Financial Protection in Early Dementia?

I have a seventy something relative who is in the process of being diagnosed with dementia (referred for hospital memory test). :( They presently live with their spouse (who is quite a bit older, has physical health problems, I *think* largely separate finances) in my relative's home. There is one adult child who is very involved but lives miles away so other family are supporting.

Last week my relative gave payment details over the telephone to someone claiming to peddle PPI reclaims. :eek: At this point we don't know if it was a 'genuine' company being unscrupulous or an out-and-out scam. The bank cards have been cancelled in branch and it seems no money has been taken, but there is a worry they have also given date of birth, previous surnames or other personal information. My relative is already registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

We are aware that there is Power of Attorney and I am of a mind this should be started sooner rather than later (at some point the house will need to be sold so they can move somewhere more practical) but it's not my decision. It is very important at this early stage that my relative is still able to be completely independent financially and have control on a day to day basis. We simply wish to prevent fraud or help out if something goes wrong or they are stressed or confused.

Is there any other way of protecting or supporting financially that should be considered? Anyone that can be registered with like the TPS, once there is a diagnosis should the banks be informed, anything small/ casual/ simple that won't impact on their life too much? Preferably not involving gadgetry, they are no good with that.

I feel I should say this is NOTHING to do with protecting the adult child's inheritance, we all want the relative to continue to enjoy their retirement!! I have seen threads like that before which are just horrible. :o

Thanks in advance.
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  • dzug1
    dzug1 Posts: 13,535 Forumite
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    Fire_Fox wrote: »

    We are aware that there is Power of Attorney and I am of a mind this should be started sooner rather than later (at some point the house will need to be sold so they can move somewhere more practical) but it's not my decision.

    Who has the Power of Attorney? (Lasting or Enduring?) What does it say about when it is to be implemented?

    It is very important at this early stage that my relative is still able to be completely independent financially and have control on a day to day basis. We simply wish to prevent fraud or help out if something goes wrong or they are stressed or confused..

    I fear that the two halves of this are incompatible - without taking away their independence you cannot prevent things going wrong. At best you can mop up afterwards.


    once there is a diagnosis should the banks be informed

    I don't think you should tell the banks until you are registering the Power of Attorney with them. Strictly speaking they should refuse to have anything to do with you without such a document. If they do take any notice they may just freeze the accounts
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,012 Forumite
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    dzug1 wrote: »
    Who has the Power of Attorney? (Lasting or Enduring?) What does it say about when it is to be implemented?
    These are key questions: the Enduring kind could only be made up to about October 2007, and are much simpler documents, if that helps. But I don't think they gave much detail about when it was to be implemented, and see below.
    dzug1 wrote: »
    I fear that the two halves of this are incompatible - without taking away their independence you cannot prevent things going wrong. At best you can mop up afterwards.
    I agree with this ...
    dzug1 wrote: »
    I don't think you should tell the banks until you are registering the Power of Attorney with them. Strictly speaking they should refuse to have anything to do with you without such a document. If they do take any notice they may just freeze the accounts
    If it's the 'old-style' Enduring kind, then it CAN be used before it has been registered, BUT I believe only as long as the person granting the power retains 'capacity' to manage their own affairs. The OP may be at or beyond that point, or their relative may have capacity at some times and not at others ... And yes, if the bank believe that they have lost capacity, they may freeze the account, to protect the person's interests.

    The 'new' lasting kind have to be registered before they can be used, I believe, and that takes some time.

    BTW, there's a very useful post here on EPA and LPA, and what they each mean.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
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    Thanks very much to both of you for the replies. :A

    Sorry I worded that very badly, I meant to say we are aware of the option of the PoA system but no paperwork has been done yet. :o I think the paperwork should be done sooner rather than later, other members of the family are reluctant (partly about changing the dynamic of the r'ship) and they have more clout. If there are few other options then there aren't, at least we know what the situation is and we will muddle through together.

    From what I read online this was most likely a scam, some vulnerable people are put on a 'hotlist' and subject to a series of scams ... :( My eyes are starting to open, I am realising there is no 'right time' for anything it's all going to be guesswork and judgement and crossing your fingers.

    I'm suggesting at least a sign is put on the front door deterring cold callers. Perhaps internet banking, not for my technophobe relative but for the adult child to cast an eye over regularly.
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  • agrinnall
    agrinnall Posts: 23,344 Forumite
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    Unfortunately it may be too late to set up the LPA now, if your relative is already undergoing testing for dementia they may not have the capacity to grant power to the attornies. A doctor needs to confirm that they do have capability, and they may not be prepared to do so if the test results are not good.

    Having said that, you are right that the process needs to be started NOW before there is any further deterioration, if the LPA can't be granted then it's a much more complicated and expensive process to get it granted by the court of protection.
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,012 Forumite
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    agrinnall wrote: »
    Unfortunately it may be too late to set up the LPA now, if your relative is already undergoing testing for dementia they may not have the capacity to grant power to the attornies.
    This is true, but note that the key thing is that they have capacity at the moment when they sign, even if they don't have capacity all the time. So, if you know that the person is better in the morning than in the afternoon, you arrange any appointments for the morning. If they're OK in familiar surroundings but lose the plot when out and about, you see if you can get someone to come to the home, or at least don't try to do everything in one visit to a new solicitor!

    Someone - the 'certificate provider' I believe - has to sign something to confirm that they had capacity when they signed.
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Being diagnosed with dementia does not necessarily mean that a person lacks sufficient mental capacity to make an LPA.

    In the early years of the illness the usual signs are fleeting moments of confusion and short-term memory loss. These mild characteristics rarely impact upon the ability of person to make an LPA in the early years of the illness.

    As the illness develops, and the confusion of the donor (i.e. the person making the LPA) becomes prevalent, the Certificate Provider's task of being able to justify that the donor had understanding of the document becomes harder.

    The important point is that the donor understands what the document can do, why it is important to make them, who they wish to appoint as their attorneys and why, and when might the LPA come into operation -- and is able to show that understanding.

    Professionals [who offer an LPA drafting service or act as a Certificate Provider] often have a set of carefully – worded questions that the donor answers. The answers demonstrate the above points and a number of other aspects that need to be covered when acting as a 'Certificate Provider'. The professional simply asks these questions to the donor in most cases, and records the answers. Assuming that the answers are in line with our expectations we can then act as a Certificate Provider.
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
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    Really helpful pointers on the PoA, thank you, I am sure the family would like to avoid court as far as possible. My relative definitely has good and bad days, first time at the doctor was bad and they could not give the year and do have trouble articulating certain things. :( But much of the time they are coping well, use notes and calendars so always remember get togethers and appointments, get on with normal activities of daily living.
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  • teajug
    teajug Posts: 488 Forumite
    edited 26 February 2013 at 10:34AM
    agrinnall wrote: »
    Unfortunately it may be too late to set up the LPA now, if your relative is already undergoing testing for dementia they may not have the capacity to grant power to the attornies. A doctor needs to confirm that they do have capability, and they may not be prepared to do so if the test results are not good.

    Having said that, you are right that the process needs to be started NOW before there is any further deterioration, if the LPA can't be granted then it's a much more complicated and expensive process to get it granted by the court of protection.

    Just because your relative is doing test for mild cognitive impairment does not mean that s/he will get dementia. The professionals do not know what causes dementia so they cannot treat it. I expect most of the time it is misdiagnoses anyway. Did your relative have any kind of scan on the head to see if it is a mild stroke.

    It maybe because your relative is just getting bit older and not able to focus or concentration is not as good as s/he was younger. Also, stress of getting older is a big factor as well as day to day stress of dealing with all that is going on around them dealing with the different era we are living in.

    Also check if s/he had their dental check up and removed for dental problems as I think that can be a major factor with people suffering from dementia. Most people that enter the care home have their teeth out and that is a shame as they quality of life diminishes.

    Just Google mild cognitive impairment and see what it brings up.
  • Fire_Fox
    Fire_Fox Posts: 26,026 Forumite
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    teajug wrote: »
    Just because your relative is doing test for mild cognitive impairment does not mean that s/he will get dementia. The professionals do not know what causes dementia so they cannot treat it. I expect most of the time it is misdiagnoses anyway. Did your relative have any kind of scan on the head to see if it is a mild stroke.

    It maybe because your relative is just getting bit older and not able to focus or concentration is not as good as s/he was younger. Also, stress of getting older is a big factor as well as day to day stress of dealing with all that is going on around them dealing with the different era we are living in.

    Also check if s/he had their dental check up and removed for dental problems as I think that can be a major factor with people suffering from dementia. Most people that enter the care home have their teeth out and that is a shame as they quality of life diminishes.

    Just Google mild cognitive impairment and see what it brings up.

    Thank you. :)

    I don't know exactly what tests were done so far, definitely some blood and urine tests (ruled out urinary infection and diabetes at the very least), also cardiac tests done in the GP surgery (?ECG). I assume the docs are considering/ ruling out a stroke somehow, the relative has had hypertension in the past (improved with weight loss, no meds AFAIK) so there obviously would be a risk of that. But I will check.

    We definitely feel there is more than stress or even a 'normal' level of forgetfulness for their age, there have been a few strange incidents of definite confusion or odd behaviour. It's a bit of a running joke in my family that all those in that generation are so youthful and have active lives. I think of them all as being ten years younger than they really are, the seventy somethings are definitely not 'elderly' you know?
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  • teajug
    teajug Posts: 488 Forumite
    Fire_Fox wrote: »
    Thank you. :)

    We definitely feel there is more than stress or even a 'normal' level of forgetfulness for their age, there have been a few strange incidents of definite confusion or odd behaviour. It's a bit of a running joke in my family that all those in that generation are so youthful and have active lives. I think of them all as being ten years younger than they really are, the seventy somethings are definitely not 'elderly' you know?

    I know a little bit about dementia as I visit care home frequently, I am also aware that there are many misdiagnosis regarding this condition and sometime the medical profession in various part of the country do not diagnose patients properly.

    We are all aware of the recent reports of the lack of care for in hospitals and the reports mentioned mainly elder people. Also there is no money left by the government to put into the care for the elderly people.

    If you have not look at the sites link below, then it is well worth looking at them when you get the time.

    http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200346

    http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20110223/alzheimers-disease-may-be-misdiagnosed
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