Many carers want to keep the person with dementia in a family environment for as long as possible. At Pathways we are encountering more of these situations where the person with dementia sells their house and either moves in with loved ones OR pools resources with a relative to buy a suitable property for all concerned. Whilst we would not discourage anyone from pursuing this kind of arrangement which can be beneficial to people with dementia, we would suggest that families consider the following aspects of the decision…
Mental Capacity – does the person with dementia have mental capacity to make the decision to leave their own home? If they do then they can do what they wish. If someone is making that decision for them then they need to be mindful of their duty of care to that person and to protect their money if they are also operating a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Finances.
Pooling resources – does the person with dementia have mental capacity to take the decision to pool their resources into a property which they co-own with other people? Will the person with dementia have their name on the deeds of the property (technically they should if they are putting their money towards the purchase of the property) ? If the person needs a care home in the future how will this be funded if their money is tied up in that property?
Problems further down the line, a case study:
Dad developed dementia and it was clear he could no longer live on his own. His son asked him to move in with him, they sold both their properties and bought a house together. The son’s wife became seriously ill and it was not possible for the son to care for both of them so Dad moved in with his daughter. His daughter however had no downstairs bathroom and due to Dad’s mobility issues they used the remainder of his savings to install a wet room.
6 months later Dad’s needs were such that his daughter could no longer work from home and look after him so they approached the local authority for help. The local authority were not willing to automatically fund Dad in a care home due to the fact that one year earlier he had owned a property worth £200,000 and now only had £10,500 in his bank account.
This caused problems for the family which, whilst well meaning, had used up Dad’s finances in a way that meant they could not be easily refunded to him.