Hi, my name is William and I am pretty desperate to get some help for my elderly neighbour. She is in her early 80's and has been suffering from memory loss for a few years. Over the course of the summer, things have gotten much worse for her and Iím at my wits end as to how to get help for her.
Jean has lived alone and been my neighbour for 20yrs. She has always lived alone as long as I have known her. I'd like to say she a sweet lady but in fact, she isn't and has always been belligerent towards her neighbours. We live in a row of four cottages and the other neighbours, apart from myself, just canít handle her. They are not bad people at all and wish her no ill will, but her history with them has precluded the possibility of any help for her from them. Over the years I have often found myself having to be the diplomat on her behalf.
I first noticed her memory loss about 3 to 4 years ago. It wasn't too bad and with a minimum of help she's been able to soldier on and lead an independent life. About two years ago she had a triple bi-pass operation and since then things have gotten steadily worse until now she cannot manage to feed herself because she canít provision her food cupboard plus it's not safe for her to cook. She wonít heat the house at all because she feels she canít afford the bills (though she well can), and over the past two winters I have often had to bring her into my own house, usually in the middle of the night, to warm her up. I also provide her with bathing facilities as there is no bath in her house and she canít get in and out without help.
I provide her with an evening meal every night and do all her shopping. My thanks for this is too often being accused of sneaking in her house and stealing her glasses or phone book or money of course. She hides things, forgets where she's put them, and then accuses me or the other neighbours or anybody she thinks may have called on her in the last 6 months, which would only be a meter reader anyway.
You must wonder why I do it. I'm certainly no good person type angel and can only put it down to duty to humanity. I guess I wonít easily let an individual suffer.
Anyways it was all manageable until the start of the summer when Jean seemed to get worse at an accelerated rate. So, I contacted her doctor and expressed my concern. The receptionist wouldn't let me speak to the doctor because Iím not a relative or anything.
Then I have contacted adult social services 2 times. The first time I was ignored, the second I believe someone rang her and asked if she needed any help. Of course she said she was fine. I'm not even sure that really happened because she only mentioned in passing that someone called and asked.
Jean has no family that are willing to help. She has the daughter of a cousin who is only willing to do things like see to her bank account claiming no time at all to see to Jeans every day needs.
I know Jean has a son. But in all the time i have known her he's never visited or contacted her. Never the less, one day I caught sight of her phone book and just managed to memorise one phone number before she snatched it away. She guards it like it's got all her secrets in it . I rang the number which was local and it turned out to be her ex- husband whom she had parted from sometime in the 60's. I explained to him the problem and although sympathetic it turns out his present wife is very disabled and he cares for her full time. But he did give me the number for her son who it turned out lived in Newcastle many many miles away.
I rang him and he said no. He said he hadn't talked to her for over 20yrs and wanted nothing to do with her. I pleaded with him calling on everything I could think of to trigger a sympathetic response toward his mother. But he wasn't any of it. I rang him a couple of times but it was a waste of time. He did at one point say his half- sister was some NHS manager in this area and he would ask her to look into and ring me back. Of course he didn't. It was just a fob off.
Anyway one day when she was in a particularly confused state I rang her doctor and told the receptionist she needed to see him urgently. I put a forceful case but they refused to let me bring her to the surgery to see the doctor but said they would get the doctor to call on her. I told her that i needed to know when the doctor was coming to make sure he got to see as she wonder off or even not answer the door. She said she'd ring and say.
Of course they didn't and he arrived while my back was turned. Still he got to see for 10 mins and left. She thought he called on her spontaneously and wasn't that nice of him and he was going to send a nurse to see her. I was very relieved as you can imagine.
A week later, no nurse. I rang the surgery and they did tell me that he was going to send a nurse but she (receptionist) wasn't sure if the referral had gone and asked me to speak to the community nurses and gave me the phone number. I rang them and they hadn't had one so they rang the doctor and got it faxed through. I asked them to tell me when the nurse was going attend but they couldn't say but said they would ring me to let me know. Of course they didn't but 5 days later a nurse came and took a blood sample off Jean. That was maybe 8 weeks ago and nothing has happened since.
I then tried the daughter of the cousin. She seems nice enough but tells me she is too busy looking after her uncle to help Jean. I put it very bluntly to her in the end. If your so tied up in Jeans finances and I know your her main beneficiary and will inherit her house (she told me this, she had the deed to Jeanís house and her will in a safe at her home, not Jean) donít you think you have taken on a duty of care towards her. "Why donít you apply for a carerís allowance she said?Ē HmmÖ
Well you may wonder why I donít do just that. Truth is I suffer from manic depression or to give it its modern "lets re-label it to sound like it's worth having" name, Bi Polar disease. So I've not only got to look after the belligerent neighbour next door but i have to manage my own head as well. So I'm on benefits and not supposed to look after anybody. And it's not a money issue it's one of responsibility as my needs are catered for.
A few months ago she started wondering around with fairly large sums of money and other things she thought of as valuble in a shoulder bag which she hung round her neck so that it hung at her belly under her coat. Of course it was just a matter of time and it was gone. Have never been able to find out weather she's stashed it somewhere or lost it in town, or was it stolen in town, or did she leave it on the bus. I involved the police and couldn't even get them to see her. They said to ring the community service and they refered me to the officer for this postcode. I kept ringing thinking they may get some help from the social services but this officer was never present and despite numerous promises that she would contact me when she was in the office they never did.
So who can step into this breech because i've had it and she wont survive more than few weeks without my input. She'll either starve or poison herself with spoilt food (did i mention she unplugs her fridge cause it uses too much electric). It might be the kindest thing to do at the end of the day because her life is a living nightmare. It starts at about 6am when she comes in to ask what day it is etc. Then she spends the whole day looking for something. Quite literaly all day looking for whatever she thinks she's lost.
No one wants her and no one likes her. I've done my best but I'm at the end of the road and have my own welfare to think about. This afternoon she came in having lost another load of money. Banged on that I had stolen it and it must be me. After a while she let me come look for it with her. I found a roll of notes at the bottom of her stairs which she snatched off me when i picked it up and said no that was not the money she'd lost.
I asked her where it was she lost it, she said she'd fallen asleep in an easy chair in her kitchen and it was no good looking for as I had sneaked in and took it anyway. I asked her what the money was in and she screamed "dont ask that your trying to confuse me". I said I'd ring the police and they would come and ask her that what would she she say. "It's in a green bag" she said. There were several green bags in her kitchen and she pointed out one that was like it. A paper bag from Loyds chemist. Low and behold there was just such a bag on the shelf in a vase that was where she said she was asleep, containing her money and whatever else inside.
Of course 20 mins later all was roses roses for Jean as she sat in my living room eating fish pie and asking for more sugar in her tea. Hmm
Ok so whose gonna save Jean cause come the end of the weekend, well tuesday in fact I'm retiring from the job and Jean is going to be left to her own fate. No one else is interested so why should I. So if you want to give it a go let me know through this forum. I've done all the contact this person and this place and now if Jean is to survive someones gonna have to run after her. I dont mind being the middle man but thats all.
Sorry and all that