Judge rules elderly Jewish man with dementia should move to Jewish care home after council disagreed

An 86-year-old Jewish man who is in the advanced stages of dementia and may have months left to live should move to a Jewish care home, a judge in a specialist court has decided.

Judge Anselm Eldergill has concluded that a move to a Jewish care home is in the man’s best interests.

Social services bosses at a London council, which has responsibilities for the man’s care, had asked the judge for a ruling.

A relative had argued that a move to a Jewish care home was in the man’s best interests, a position council bosses disagreed with.

Judge Eldergill, who is based in London, has outlined detail of the case in a written ruling after a hearing in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who do not have the mental capacity to make decisions are considered.

He said the man could not be identified in media reports of the case.

The judge said such a move would be in keeping with the fact that the man was a “devoted and committed Jew”.

He said it was likely that the man, who is currently living in a secular care home, would benefit from “familiar religious and communal activities”.

Judge Eldergill said the man’s life was “very much drawing to a close”.

The judge said the case was about not just where and how the man lived, but where and how he died, and where he would wish to live and die if he still had mental capacity to make decisions for himself.

He said one objection to moving was the risk that a move posed to the man’s life and health.

But he said evidence showed that he might “only have a few months left to live” in any event.

The judge also said the man was “content” at his current nursing home.

But the judge, who heard evidence from the man’s rabbi, said it had to be acknowledged that a secular care home would never be able to satisfy a Jewish resident’s “religious and cultural needs” to the same standard as a Jewish care home.

Judge Eldergill said he had concluded that a move to a Jewish care home was in the man’s best interests after balancing evidence.

“In my opinion, it is likely that he will benefit from the familiar religious and communal activities … although he would be unable to put into words why it pleases him,” the judge added.

“This gives him the best opportunity to enjoy or gain satisfaction from what life is left to him and the likely benefits outweigh the likely risks.”

The judge said it was likely that the man would feel a “comforting sense of familiarity and reassurance” from Jewish practices and traditions.

Judge Eldergill added: “A move to a Jewish care home is also in keeping with the fact that (he) was a devoted and committed Jew, and the importance of his Jewish community to him.”

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