Court settles disagreement over care of elderly mother

The Court of Protection has helped a family to settle a disagreement about the best way to care for their 84-year-old mother.

The mother suffered from dementia and lived in a care home. She lacked the capacity to make the decision for herself about where she should live.

As her condition worsened she moved into a local home that specialised in helping elderly residents with dementia. Her children visited her regularly but couldn’t agree on the best way to look after her.

The youngest daughter thought it would be best for her to move back to her own home with a suitable care package. The son and other daughters felt she was better off at the care home.

The mother wished to return, and an independent social worker said it would be marginally beneficial for her to do so.

However, the local authority argued that she should stay in the care home as she was settled there and was being well looked after. It said that due to the mother’s dementia, it was difficult to tell whether she understood what returning home would mean, or even what she now viewed as ‘home’.

The court ruled that it was in the mother’s best interest to remain where she was. There was no doubt that she would have wanted to live out her final days in her own surroundings, but there was considerable uncertainty about whether she understood what returning home would mean for her.

She was well looked after at the care home and seemed to enjoy socialising with the other residents. There was a risk that she could become isolated and lonely if she moved back. On balance, therefore, it was better that she should remain where she was.

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