THE FIELDING FAMILY
The Fielding Family came to Morisons to ask for help in becoming their son’s Financial Guardians as they wanted to avoid having to move him into a care home.
Justin’s autism and need for quiet and fixed routines made it hard for him to cope in a group home setting and mum Dorothy believed that one on one care was the only way to ensure he developed to his full potential.
However the family were struggling to cope with Justin’s increasingly erratic behaviour at home and came up with an unusual solution to the problem.
Dorothy said: “We weren’t sleeping at night and we were absolutely exhausted with the stress of it,” says mum Dorothy. “Justin had a bad experience in a care home before which we think led to a breakdown and the homes I visited just weren’t suitable. One home had a lot of chair-bound older people and I couldn’t bear to think of my son, who was then a teenager, sitting there all day long.
“We were on a waiting list for suitable supported accommodation for him but we didn’t hear a thing in six years. Dorothy and Justin Fielding
“Eventually we decided that our only option was to move out of our family home and let Justin stay on supported by full-time carers.
“It had been the family home for 13 years and we knew he was happy there. He does not cope well with change and we could not think of another way to ensure he wasn’t disrupted.”
The family moved into a flat nearby, and Justin (23) is given 24/7 support Monday to Saturday morning, then Dorothy takes over.
It has been a financial struggle for the family but Dorothy says that she now finally sees a light at the end of the tunnel, and most importantly Justin is settled and doing well.
She said: “He has come on lots in recent months and is enjoying going out again and is eating much better.”
How We Helped
Our team worked with the Fieldings to pull together a case for Dorothy, husband Alexander and daughter Julianne to become Justin’s Financial Guardians. As a result they were able to apply for self-directed support to pay for his carers and enter into a tenancy agreement on his behalf.
We are also helping them in their application for housing benefit to help pay for the maintenance of the property.
See more about what Dorothy thought on our Testimonials page.
PATRICIA AND JORDAN GRAHAM
Patricia Graham is used to having to fight for the best possible care for her 18-year-old son Jordan who has autism. But even she was left shaking her head in disbelief when plans for his care after leaving school unexpectedly unravelled.
In the months prior to him finishing up, she had worked hard to arrange a suitable care package through her local council to enable Jordan to get the most out of life and to allow her to return to work.
However just two days before Jordan was due to leave school, she was told that she would not be receiving the direct payments necessary to fund the care he needed.
The council advised the mother of two, that she could not receive the payments as she was not Jordan’s Financial Guardian, leaving the teenager facing an uncertain future.
Patricia said: “I just got an email out of the blue saying that they couldn’t release the funds to pay for his care plan as I wasn’t his Financial Guardian and that I should get back to them when I had it in place. I was faced with having no help to look after him at all.
“After a lot of phone calls I managed to secure two days care a week with Sense Scotland but was left without cover for the rest of the time. Under the original plan he would have had 44 hours care so it made a big difference to our lives. It was very difficult as he wasn’t sleeping well and we were tired all the time.”
How We Helped
Patricia came to us in June 2012 and our team starting working with an advocate to get an interim care package put in place until we could get the Order passed for her to become his Financial Guardian.
We were able to secure 22 hours Personal Assistant care for Jordan through Quarriers, providing him with carers who could accompany him on social outings and take part in activities like swimming.
Patricia was granted Legal Aid that August and Financial Guardianship in December and she is now just waiting for final sign off on the full support package for Jordan which is in place to start from 1st April.
She said: “It has been great knowing that there are people to help care for Jordan. He is out and about all the time on trips to country parks and nice things like that and is doing really well. Although the full plan has still to start he now has something to do every day and a routine he really enjoys.”
See more about what Patricia thought on our Testimonials page.
THE GEDDES FAMILY
It was a chance conversation that led Barbara and Ronnie Geddes to realise that they might need a Guardianship to help protect the wellbeing of their daughter, Pamela, and within only a matter of weeks of it being put in place, it quickly proved to be a vital necessity.
Living independently in an assisted home, 45 year old Pamela, who lives with severe learning disabilities and is unable to speak unaided, had been used to making her own choices with her parents happy to provide guidance when needed. However, a chance conversation with a medical professional led to Barbara and Ronnie realising that despite being Pamela’s parents and looking after her over the years they didn’t actually have any right to make decisions on her behalf.
Barbara explains, “As parents you feel you have the right to make decisions on behalf of your children - especially as parents of a child with learning difficulties. So we were really shocked to find out that legally we had absolutely no right to make decisions on behalf of Pamela. She is unable to make decisions that impact on her future wellbeing and it quickly became obvious that this could lead to problems.
“We were already speaking to the Morison’s team about making a Trust to provide for Pamela’s future and enquired about Guardianship and if we needed such a thing. Pamela Geddes
“It became clear that there were lots of situations where a Guardianship might be necessary as situations change all the time. For example, if the owners of the housing complex where she stays changed hands or her benefits changed, lots of situations which we take for granted could have an impact.”
It took around three months for the Guardianship to be put in place and Mr and Mrs Geddes had to meet with psychologists, social workers and mental health representatives to assess their suitability to be Guardians, despite being Pamela’s parents. The family also decided to appoint Pamela’s two sisters as secondary Guardians to enable them to step up to the role in the future.
Barbara continues, “We’d only just been awarded Guardianship when Pamela was faced with a medical situation we really didn’t agree with.
“With Pamela unable to make the decision and a dentist pushing for treatment we really didn’t feel that the treatment being advised was necessary. We were so glad we had the Guardianship arranged. We were able to step in and argue that we didn’t feel the treatment was in her best interests.
See more about what Barbara thought on our Testimonials page.
JACKIE COWAN AND PAULINE VALLANCE
Often it can be the simplest of things than can trigger the need to consider guardianship for a family member and that was certainly the case for Jackie Cowan.
For 54 years Jackie's sister, Pauline who lives with learning difficulties, was cared for and lived with their mum before her passing eight years ago. Arrangements were made for Pauline to move into KEY housing with her own tenancy, receiving daily care within her home. In addition Pauline attends an Adult Resource Centre during the week.
However, it wasn't a change in Pauline's housing or financial arrangements that prompted Jackie to consider legal guardianship but rather she wanted to change her diet and quickly discovered that such a simple change couldn’t be easily made.
Jackie explains, "I was aware of financial guardianships but didn't know much about needing or becoming a welfare guardian. When I enquired about wanting to make changes to Pauline's diet and other general things to be undertaken, like help with dressing and overall appearance, going on holiday, ensuring all health problems were addressed on time, I quickly realised that we needed a welfare guardianship. It was a surprise to learn that such basic decisions cannot be made without legal back-up.”
Morisons helped Jackie prepare a case and statement for the court, gathering all the necessary documentation and evidence of care. A Judge successfully granted welfare guardianship to Jackie to her delight.
Jackie continues, "I feel I have peace of mind and confidence now to ensure Pauline's needs are being properly met. When you are relying on external support, no matter how good it might be, there are many daily challenges that you need to address especially if your family member is living independently. But Pauline has a great life-style and is fortunate to have settled really well into independent living having been looked after for so many years by our mum."