What can I do about my mother’s interfering friend?
Q: My elderly mother, aged 80, has a neighbour that I think is too interferring - how can I protect her?
For her age, my mother is still quite independent and her neighbour, a good friend, has always kept an eye on her which was reassuring for me.
During the pandemic, the neighbour started to take it upon herself to check on my mother more regularly. At first I didn’t mind as I was unable to visit myself, but now, a couple of years on, this neighbour still insists on taking my mother to medical appointments, as well as taking her out for weekly grocery shopping and day trips.
I feel like this is now starting to encroach on my own time with my mother, as well as my sense of duty. I also can’t ignore the suspicion that this neighbour has an agenda.
What can I do?
A: We are looking at best interests here, without a doubt.
You don’t mention where these suspicions come from - if they have come from your mother, and you have reason to believe from her own account that the neighbour is taking advantage of her, then you absolutely must act.
While thankfully it sounds like your mother is still well and independent, the danger is that she might suddenly become unwell.
I do hope that you have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for your mother, because if she was to have a fall or need emergency treatment, only you would be able to have the power to decide how your mother should receive medical care. This would put you in a much stronger position in acting on behalf of your mother’s wishes, as opposed to your neighbour acting in a way that she thought was best - and inadvertently upset your mother’s family along the way.
You cannot prove that your mother’s neighbour has any other agenda, besides her own companionship and social connection with your mother.
They were friends before the pandemic and perhaps, like many others, the neighbour simply kept an eye on her - especially as it sounds as though she had your blessing to do that before. Perhaps the neighbour got to know your mum better and enjoyed spending time with her - and vice versa for your mum too.
If your suspicions are unfounded, how do you think your mother would feel to suddenly become separated from a dear friend?
My advice to you is to try and embrace the neighbour as she is part of your mum’s life if you can. But, keep the paperwork in check behind the scenes to protect yourself and mum too.
If anyone else is facing a similar situation and would like to find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.