Older People: Helping protect older people’s right to a family life
A couple, both 80 years old, had once been childhood friends. After the deaths of both of their partners, the pair started a relationship and lived together for four years until the woman was hospitalised and then admitted into a care home.
For the next three months the man visited the woman daily but her daughters became concerned that he was upsetting her so objected to his visits. Care home staff believed they had to respect the daughters’ wishes as they were her next of kin so banned the man from visiting, based on the claim that the woman was unable to make her own decisions on what would be for her best interests. It took 10 months before a medical assessment took place to confirm whether or not the woman could legally make her own decisions, which meant the couple were denied contact throughout the whole dispute. A judge criticised the local authority for an unacceptable delay in resolving the matter, and said it should have realised the couple’s rights to private and family life would be breached by keeping them apart.
It took 10 months before a medical assessment took place to confirm whether or not the woman could legally make her own decisions.