How do you ask a friend about their mental status?
Recently a friend who is 90, has early stage dementia, and is currently living alone (her companion had to leave unexpectedly to take care of her own daughter) called to say she was looking for someone to live with her. She doesn't feel the need for nursing care, just a companion so she's not alone in the house. Another friend was looking for a new housekeeper position so we thought 'perfect! problem solved on two fronts'. The two talked and were ready to work with each other.
Having known her for 40 years as an independent, business-minded individual and seeing her moving around her own home comfortably (if a little slowly) and knowing no one was there with her regularly - well honestly it never occurred to us to ask whether someone else needed to be in on the decision. And you know our parents never think they need to defer a decision to anyone. : - \ But there turned out to be two - a nephew and a family friend - who felt the decision should have been theirs. So the hopes of both friends are dashed as the family feels she needs 24/7 care (even though they've left her 'home alone' for two weeks, having someone pop in once or twice a day and no one there at night. At least the proposed arrangement would've had someone there during more hours of the day and all night. But that's another story...)
I'm wondering how others have handled this; at what point and how do you ask a friend whether they're still capable of making decisions?