In April 2009, great-grandmother Betty Figg was snatched from her home by social workers against the wishes of her daughter, her former carer. Social workers arrived with police and a battering ram to remove the 86 year-old woman, suffering from dementia, from her daughter’s house where she had been living.

The media quickly spread pictures and video footage of Betty being taken from the house in her wheelchair with a towel thrown over her head. Social services did not agree with Betty’s daughter that it was in Betty’s best interests to be cared by her daughter in a specially converted room, in her daughter’s home.

Incidents like this can be prevented by creating a health and welfare Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and giving it to a family member. Social services are then prevented from making care decisions.

Without an LPA social services can make decisions on behalf a vulnerable person, if they think they lack mental capacity and believe it is in their best interests. They do not have to follow what the family want and cannot be liable for their decisions.

Eleanor Dix, associate at Hugh James, is encouraging all older people to plan ahead and make a health and welfare lasting power of attorney. “It is an important document and sensible to get advice about the choices you have. What happened to Mrs Figg may never happen to you, but if it does, you and your family will be glad you made the power.”

A COVENTRY mum has been reunited with her daughter, two months after she was seized by social workers.

Betty Figg was snatched from her daughter Rosalind’s home in Keresley days after checking out of a care home.

Social workers even drafted in police with a battering ram to help and carted 86-year-old Betty away with a blanket over her head.

But tears were replaced with smiles as Rosalind Figg won her seven-month custody battle to look after her elderly mum.

Two months ago Rosalind had been confronted on her doorstep by social workers and police armed with a battering ram.

They threatened to force their way into her Coventry home unless she handed over her mum, who she had recently checked out of a care home in Corley.

Our exclusive footage of tearful Betty being wheeled away with a blanket over her head was picked up by national media.

And more than 300 outraged supporters even took part in a Facebook campaign to free the 86-year-old great grandmother.

Betty returned home last week and is enjoying being doted on by her family, friends, and carers.

“The move went fine and I’m settling in well,” said Betty.

“It’s lovely to be here. I obviously have very clever children for them to arrange all this.

“Rosalind has been absolutely lovely. It’s like having my own servant the way she has been looking after me.”

Since the doorstep debacle, Rosalind has been working with social services and mental health trust the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership to meet their numerous requirements so that she could bring Betty home.

This includes completing a two-day carer’s course, passing a string of assessments, arranging for another carer to call eight times each day and getting a specially adaptable hospital bed and commode delivered.

She was also ordered to have new alarms and locks fitted on the doors and windows of her home in Keresley Close, Keresley.

But Rosalind is just pleased to be given the chance to prove she can look after Betty, who has dementia.

She said: “Having my mum home makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

“She’s doing really well and now that she’s in a familiar environment she is getting more and more memories coming back to her.

“I just want to protect and care for my mum. No one else would be able to look after her well enough for me.”

Rosalind said she also wanted to thank all the Coventry Telegraph readers and well-wishers who supported her campaign to bring Betty home.

We will support Betty all we can

Amanda Hill, community services coordinator at the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, was assigned to prepare Rosalind and her home to look after Betty when she was taken back into care in April.

She said: “We are delighted the right outcome has been achieved.

“Our ethos is to help people stay in their own home for as long as possible, but we have to look at all the safety and risk factors.

“There were a number of assessments we had to complete to identify Betty’s needs and care package that was required.

“We will now be working to help Betty improve her independence.”

Amanda Carr, assistant director for social care at Coventry City Council said: “We are very pleased Betty has been able move into her daughter’s home. It has been a great joint effort, including the hard work of the Older People’s Community Mental Health Team, staff at Butts Croft residential home and the joint Intermediate Care Service working together with the family that has enabled this to happen.

“We are determined to make sure this is a successful move and will continue to provide all the support we can to Betty and her family.”

Steve Worsfold

Affiliate Member of the Society of Will Writers
Advising on Wills/Trusts/Probate/Powers of Attorney

Mobile: 07734 744886
Office: 01903 533681

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Steve Worsfold has been an Affiliate Member of the Society for 15 years.