Wealthy dementia widow can leave care facility despite welfare concern of nephew

A wealthy widow suffering from dementia should be given the chance to leave a care facility and be looked after at home, a judge has decided.

The woman, who is in her 90s and has more than £2 million in savings, has been at the centre of a dispute in the Court of Protection, where judges consider issues relating to people who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions.

Her nephew, and nearest relative, says she will not be safe at home and should stay in the care facility.

But lawyers appointed by a judge to represent the woman’s interests disagree and say more analysis is needed before the possibility of her going home is ruled out.

They say she has expressed a wish to go home and has enough money to pay for the expensive care package which would be needed.

Mr Justice Hayden, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, analysed rival arguments at a Court of Protection hearing in London earlier this week.

He says, in a ruling, that he doubted whether a return home would be in the woman’s best interests.

But he said the woman’s liberty was involved and decisions should only be made after a “proper inquiry” which considers “cogent evidence”.

The woman is represented by staff from the office of the Official Solicitor, who help vulnerable people at the centre of litigation.

Barrister Oliver Lewis, who leads the woman’s legal team, said a lower-ranking judge had ruled out the possibility of the woman returning home.

He said that decision had been taken too soon, without all evidence being considered, and should be overturned.

The woman’s nephew disagreed.

Mr Justice Hayden, who also heard from lawyers representing social services at Medway Council, which is based in Chatham, Kent, who have responsibility for the woman’s welfare, overturned the earlier decision and ruled against the woman’s nephew.

The judge said the woman could not be identified in media reports of the litigation.

He heard that the woman had run a property business with her husband before retiring.

They had met at the end of the Second World War and had settled in a home on the outskirts of London.

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