Mark Piggott

Are people with Alzheimer’s being denied justice?

(Photo: iStock)

My mother, aged 75, has advanced Alzheimer’s. This is heart-breaking enough – she is now at a stage where she has terrifying visions, and keeps asking me, her only son, where her son Mark is. But twice in the past five years we have been denied justice in cases where people were suspected of taking advantage of mum because of her vulnerable state. 

Until last October, mum was able to live with a modicum of independence with the help of care from a local authority team. Support workers came to visit twice a day, helping her with everyday essentials such as cleaning, eating, and shopping, and mum developed a real rapport with the team. The care wasn’t cheap – indeed, by the end the monthly fees swallowed her teaching pension – but we judged it worth the cost in order for mum to retain some dignity. 

Then I received a tearful phone call from the leader of the care team that had been looking after mum. It was suspected that one of mum’s carers, who she had come to trust implicitly, had been stealing from her. Other carers within the team had grown suspicious at a number of discrepancies with receipts. I was both shocked and angry; the fact that mum had absolutely no idea what was going on if anything made it worse.  

When confronted, the carer in question resigned her post, and avoided questioning by police for many months. Initially police thought she had gone into hiding – then an officer called to sheepishly admit she had apparently been at home all along. At my insistence, the police went back to knock down her door, and she was finally questioned. Due to my holding Power of Attorney, I was questioned at length, provided a formal statement, and was asked to provide mum’s bank statements so police could check for suspicious activity. I

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