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25 Aug 2016

I am worried about my elderly neighbour who lives alone. She has a cleaner who comes to her home a couple of times a week but she has made some comments about the cleaner being controlling over her money and affairs and this concerns me. What should I do?

I’m sorry to hear about your concerns for your neighbour. If you have an opportunity to talk to her about it a little more, to find out what might be going on, that may be helpful. But whether you’re able to or not, I would suggest you contact the local authority social services for the area where you live. Tell them what you know and they will have a duty to look into it, to make sure your neighbour is kept safe from being at risk.

My wife has recently been diagnosed with dementia. I have been advised to get a lasting power of attorney. How do I go about this and why is it important?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a legal document which would allow you to make decisions on behalf of your wife if or when she is no longer able to do so. There are two types of LPA – Health and Welfare, Property and Financial Affairs. A Health and Welfare LPA would allow you to make decisions about your wife’s medical care, personal care, where care is provided (e.g. in a care home) and so on. A Property and Financial Affairs LPA covers things like managing a bank or building society account, paying bills, selling a property etc.

It’s important to have an LPA because, with- out one, should your wife be unable to make decisions for herself, you couldn’t just step in to do this on her behalf. You may need to apply to the Court of Protection to become a Deputy for your wife. This can be a very lengthy and costly process, and if you were not appointed as your wife’s Deputy, the local authority would take on this role instead.

An LPA needs to be in place before your wife loses her ability to make her own decisions, should this happen. The necessary forms can be obtained from the Office of the Public Guardian (telephone 0300 456 0300) and you can complete them yourself.

However, please be aware that if they are completed incorrectly, they may be rejected. Alternatively, you can arrange an LPA through a solicitor which, although more expensive, will ensure an application is accepted.

I am widowed in my 70’s, healthy and happy but I am aware that things could change at any moment. Having cared for my husband through a terrible illness I have a strong idea of how I want to be cared for, should I need it. How should I tell my son/daughter my wishes for future care?

It’s good that you are thinking about these issues now, although I’m sorry to hear that this has come about due to your experiences in caring for your husband. There are two types of advance decisions you can make – an Advanced Decision and an Advanced Statement.

Advanced Decisions are legally binding as long as they meet certain criteria. Assuming the person making one has the capacity to make their own decisions at the time, the Advanced Decisions allow them to refuse certain medical treatments.

I wonder, however, if what you’re referring to is an Advanced Statement, which sets out your wishes and prefer- ences for future care. This could include, for example, the type of care and sup- port you would like to receive, where you live, what’s important to you, who you would like to be involved in making decisions about you and so on. Unlike Advanced Decisions, it isn’t legally bind- ing, but health and social care profes- sionals should take it into account when making decisions about your personal care (if you become unable to do so) and have to have a good reason for not doing so. An Advanced Statement does- n’t need to be written down but doing so ensures there is a permanent record of your wishes. Putting together an Advanced Statement (or an Advanced Decision) can also be a good way of starting what can often be a difficult con- versation. I hope yours goes well.

Everything seems to be online nowadays. I am finding I have to use my computer more and more to fill out forms and book things but I am not IT confident. What can I do?

You’re certainly not alone. Many people feel a little left behind by tech- nology, it’s hard for a nyone to keep up. But there are lessons which can help you to become more confident in using IT. Age UK run computer lessons around the country (contact them on 0800 169 2081) or you could ask in your local library, which can be a great source of community information. Some of Jewish Care’s community centres also run computer lessons; call the Jewish Care Direct helpline on 020 8922 2222 and they can put you in touch with your nearest one.

My father is 90 and lives alone. He is independent and doesn’t need carers but I do worry about him falling or becoming ill. When I am here I know if he needs me he can call but I travel a lot and really worry about him. What can I do?

It’s good to hear your father is well and living independently but I can appreciate your concerns. Technology could be useful in a situation such as this, some examples being a lifeline alarm, personal alarm or telecare system. A lifeline alarm is a pendant worn around the neck with a button to push in emergencies. This transmits a signal to a unit installed in the home which is connected to a 24 hour response centre. The centre will try to make contact with the person and can also alert nominated key holders or call for an ambulance, if necessary. For further information, contact Age UK on 0800 169 2081.

There are different types of personal alarms which can alert those within a limited distance of the person wearing it. Some examples are those which will send out an alert if the person falls or wanders or if the house gets too cold. A telecare system is a network of sen- sors placed around the home. They monitor constantly so the person does- n’t need to do anything in particular to trigger an alarm. As well as monitoring what’s going on in the home, they can also send prompts to the person, for example, to take their medication.

For further information on alarms and telecare systems, contact the TSA (for- merly the Telecare Services Association) on 01625 520 320.

The confidential helpline is open Mon to Thurs, 8.30am-5.30pm and Friday 8.30am-2pm (5pm in summer). You can call Jewish Care’s Helpline on 020 8922 2222, visit or email

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