This morning, like most mornings, I was festering quietly in my 'pit' with BBC FiveLive plugged into my ear as I listened to the news. One of the topics that arose was a totally new one to me - the clash between the law as laid out in rules and regs that control what is and what is not permitted in dealing with people who are mentally unstable. In particular, the rules governing exactly what may be used as a proper restraint for people likely to be a danger to themselves or others.
A man was interviewed whose mother-in-law was suffering with severe dementia. It was absolutely necessary to keep her, in effect, locked up and/or under restraint because she would take advantage of any slight opportunity to either wander off or try to carry out some domestic activity that would prove dangerous. For example, the man reported that once, inadvertently left alone, she had tried to make a cup of tea by placing an electric kettle on a gas hob which resulted in a kitchen fire!
Apparently, there is a forest of regulations which govern how far you may or may not go in restraining such people, most of them designed to cover activities by the authorities in police stations and psychiatric clinics and the like but very few of which cover the situation in a domestic home. Even so, any contraventions might bring down the full weight of the law on your head if you get it wrong, even with the best of intentions.
Quite how you sort out that tangle of problems I do not know, however, listening to the interview, my admiration for the man and his wife who obviously have been trying their best under enormous strain to keep an elderly, sick, confused parent in their own familiar domestic surroundings is beyond description. I wish them all well.