Sunday, 31 August 2014

A second Referendum vote

Here's another twist to add to my own Referendum dilemma. As if I wasn't having enough trouble deciding what way to vote I got a call from my Mother's care home to say her postal vote had arrived.

I have guardianship for my Mother and my understanding had been that she was not eligible to vote. However, on checking this with the local council it seems that I am responsible for returning her vote where her wishes are known or can be elicited.

Now, in addition to still not having clarified what way to vote myself, I have the challenge of eliciting confirmation of my Mother's choice. This is obviously legal and as her guardian I am not only empowered, but required, to act on her behalf and to use my voice to enable her rights, choices and decisions to be made known. Someday, I'll maybe write about what it feels like to carry the decision-making burden for another adult. It is a privilege and a duty of honour but I find it to be an onerous and ethically challenging position to be in. Ethically, it doesn't seem quite right that someone can vote on the future of a nation when they cannot always recall if they have just eaten or been to the toilet. By the same token binning her vote due to my ethical concerns conflicts with my responsibilities as a Guardian of her rights as she can state a preference.

When I posed the options in very simple open terms she very rapidly gave her view which confirmed my supposition on the way she would vote. As her response was so quick I am assured within myself that this is her lifetime and strongly held choice as it is only when she is asked to think through an issue that it becomes mired in her brain. Where a decision or view is given almost 'automatically' this has identical match with her pre-brain injury functioning and personality. As I always do, I will revisit this with her on at least two more occasions to confirm before putting her cross in the box.

Apart from the obvious gravity of this situation there is an ironic side. Here I am pondering the depths to make a good decision and yet my Mother, who cannot function independently in her personal life, can bring to bear a decision in a heartbeat AND provide me with a reasonable justification which seems rather surreal.

My own decision is still uncertain though I am tilting towards a certain position. My Mother's choice won't influence my own but there is now the additional knowledge that I may have been involved in both votes cancelling each other out depending on what my eventual decision is. This just doesn't get any easier, does it?


  1. Guardianship is a privilege and a burden there's no doubt, sounds like you are doing a brilliant job in a difficult situation X

  2. It does sound like you are doing a great job. I've never been in this situation, but it must be difficult.

  3. Hard problem. You need to follow what you think her wishes are. And good luck on the decision making!

  4. I hope that you can come up with your own decision. It is good that you know that your Mum knows what she wants and you can follow her wishes. I think that your strategy for asking her three times is good too. xx

  5. We had a discussion about this recently as my brothers mother in law has dementia and has a postal vote and he said she wouldn't remember what she'd voted so he could put a cross for her anywhere! He won't do that but we wondered if many people would abuse this position. Its quite a dilema you find yourself in, it's bad enough making one decision never mind two!!


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