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  1. #1
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    Our neighbour has threatened to report us to social services -will they take mum away

    We have lived on our street for 40 years now and in that time made some lasting friendships with people who have also lived on the street for the same duration. My brother lives with my mum and I stay over 2-3 times a week. I live around 30mins drive way. My brother noticed that mum has left the gas on a few times and has tried a few DIY methods to stop her from doing it.

    On returning from work yesterday our next door neighbour (I'll call her Celia) asked him over and said that another neighbour had been invited in by mum and that the gas was on. She said that if we don't put mum into a home she will call social services. My brother is getting a gas man out today to disconnect the cooker and I'll drop by the local Alzheimers society on Monday to ask for advice regarding care going forwards.

    I took mum out on Tuesday and on returning I met some other neighbours who also said that she needed to go into care now. They are all retired and had been on their daily walk around the block. I did want to ask them if they had invited mum to go on their walk with them as she loves going out and about, rather than twitching their net curtains and gossiping about her, but I get the impression that they find her embarrassing to be with these days. Sorry - I'm sure that's not true, but I'm feeling really scared and bitter. Even Celia, who used to pop in for coffee and to whose house mum also uses to go to, doesn't ask her over any more. Now I'm not saying that these people should be responsible for caring for mum during the day, not in the slightest, but they just don't want to know her anymore. They may want her to go into a home as they think it's the best for us and mum.........I don't know, I feel so helpless and scared. What's going to happen to mum? Can she be forced into a care home?
    Last edited by TaraT; 14-04-2012 at 07:17 AM.
     

  2. #2
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    If she owns her own home you can bet that SS will find some excuse to put her in a care home. Forget LPA as they can over turn that and forget COP as that exists to back up SS.

    Plenty of comments on this site from angry people who have gone through the same only to see the relatives assets and their own stolen by SS, CH and COP
     

  3. #3
    How awful for you.
    If your mum is leaving the gas on, she is clearly not safe on her own anymore. I suppose the neighbours worry is quite just in that respect.
    Perhaps you could consider having someone with mum all the time? A carer perhaps?
    It might be worth contacting social services yourselves and asking for more help. However, if you mention the gas issue, they might just suggest a care home.
    If all day carers are impossible. Maybe try respite for a few weeks and see how mum copes in that environment?
    I hope someone comes along with some useful advice for you. X
    Don't panic. X
    I know what I'm going to do..... I just haven't found out yet!
     

  4. #4
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    Dear Tara,

    This sounds very upsetting for you. Have you tried to get any help from social services or are you worried they will not be sympathetic and will force your family to do things you don't want to?

    We were told about various gadgets the council could arrange through telecare including something for gas safety. Social services might be able to refer your Mum to a day centre while your brother is at work or to have some extra support at home which would make it possible for your Mum to stay put and not be forced into residential care.

    My partner's mum is still at home with a lot of help from family and social services. She goes to a specialist dementia day centre three days a week. She absolutely hated the idea when it was first suggested and social services didn't force her but her dementia has progressed a lot in three years so we tried again and she loves it now.

    There have been quite a few moments of crisis over the last three years and each time someone or other has said 'she should go into a home now' but so far with loads of help from the GP and social services we have managed to solve the problems or they have solved themselves (not without the odd battle).

    You could decide to assume that your neighbours have your Mum's best interests at heart but are a bit out of their depth. They've alerted you to an important problem but they aren't the experts in how to solve it, the Alzheimer's Society are

    Love,

    Clarey
     

  5. #5
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    Your right to get any 'danger' points removed. I disconnected gas cooker+ fire replacing it with nursery heater +microwave but mum lived alone .As your brother's there maybe better get a 'tap' fitted to shut off when he's out. Friendships often wain as this disease progresses. It's sad/rotten/hurtfull to see someone you love 'shut out' and it does make one feel bitter- but I think you're right - 'others' find it difficult to cope with the deterioration. Unlike family, they can easily distance themselves. You'll get sound advice on TP regarding mum being 'forced' into care. I believe it involves further mental assessments and evidence she is a danger to herself and others. Sweet ** to do with the neighbours-don't be scared. Your doing the right things for your mum -making her enviroment 'safe' and getting some care advice (maybe sitter support could get her out + 'socially involved' again). x
     

  6. #6
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    Thanks for your help everyone, it's really appreciated. It's good to know that there are people out there who understand and I find your responses hugely supportive during this strange and lonely time
     

  7. #7
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    Hi Tara,
    If the only thing your mum has done is leave the gas on but is otherwise easy to work with, putting her in a home is a bit harsh. My had problems with the gas cooker 5 1/2 years. She was very lucky as a neighbour who is also a fireman found her and got help for all the escaped gas in the house and foe mum also. I then went out and bought an electric cooker and she was fine with this up until recentlt when she started to leave it on with various debris lying around that could have caught fire. If this again had been the only problem i'd have disconnected the cooker and left her with the microwave. My friend had some sort of tamper proof device fitted to her dad's cooker so that they could use if needed but he couldn't.

    As for your mum's friends excluding her i'm afraid there's not alot can be done. You can't, as you know, force someone to be your friend. Could daycare be organised for your mum if only for 1 or 2 days per week. She would be getting out a bit and still be safe.
    I don't think social services would agree with your mum going into a home because she left the cooker on especially as she does not live alone.
    Isabella
     

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by shadowxx View Post
    If she owns her own home you can bet that SS will find some excuse to put her in a care home. Forget LPA as they can over turn that and forget COP as that exists to back up SS.

    Plenty of comments on this site from angry people who have gone through the same only to see the relatives assets and their own stolen by SS, CH and COP
    There are also comments on this site from people who are more concerned with protecting their potential `inheritance` than protecting the health and safety of vulnerable adults who are at risk .

    Sylvia
    Carer and Member of the Volunteer Moderation Team

    I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet

    About me
     

  9. #9
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    First: don't panic. It's really very unlikely that social services would even attempt to "put" anyone in a home. This is extremely difficult indeed unless the person agrees to it, and very few people actually do - espescially in dementia, because the lack of insight convinces them there's nothing wrong, so they see no reason for it.

    Placement in full time residential care is a last resort - including those who are self-funding because mor eoften than not the money runs out fairly quickly and then the bills end up with the local authority.

    Your mum's behavior (ie leaving the gas on) is certainly a risk and one that would raise red flags with social services. However, it is unlikely to cause any great concern since your mum doesn't live on her own and, in any case, the problem is easily addressed by taking some practical steps. Social services might get involved if the neighbours contact them and report a vulnerable person at risk but it's not going to be much more than a visit to see what the problem is and if there's any help available. There would be more concern if your mum was living on her own and there were othe rproblems (such as wandering and getting lost regularly)

    In fact, the fight with social services is far more often to try and get them to place someone in residential care rather than resisting their attempts to do this. Time after time you will read on here of those living on their own in far worse trouble, with families desperate and worried frantic and social services failing to act. It is very much a last resort and SS will go to enormous lengths to avoid it. You as a family don't have any authority to "put" your mum anywhere unless you have a welfare LPA that says you can. But the same rules apply to that as to social services: your mum's wishes would have to be respected unless it could be proven she lacks mental capacity to make such judgements herself and failing to act left her (or someone else) at substantial risk.

    "I get the impression that they find her embarrassing to be with these days. Sorry - I'm sure that's not true,"


    To the contrary, I am certain that it is true. This doesn't make your neighbours bad people: it is often difficult and embarassing to deal with someone with dementia and many simply do not know how to respond when the person acts or speaks strangely.

    I am guessing that the neighbours are well-meaning but misguided.

    As I said, it's unlikely in the extreme that social services would do anything; at most it could result in their assessing your mum and brother and offering them support to help your mum stay at home.

    Social services have no interest or motivation in forcing people into care homes - quite the opposite
     

  10. #10
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    Hi TaraT,

    Unfortunately your mum's neighbour was somewhat heavy handed in her approach with regard to flagging up her concerns about your mum - I guess it may just be her way, and she probably isn't fully aware just what are doing what you can to look after your mum. To give her the benefit of the doubt, her heart is probably in the right place in that she is concerned for your mum's welfare - but also that her solution "putting her in a home" isn't the simple or quickly fixed answer to a problem that it might appear to someone who has never had to deal with dementia.

    You mentioned before about a SW - could you contact them and discuss what help might be available to your mum during the day when you or your brother aren't around? That equally would put you on a better footing with SS should the neighbour phone them.

    I know what you mean about neighbours/friends dropping away - the same thing happened to my mum. I was more sorry that the simple compassion for a person in decline just by stopping by to have a coffee couldn't seem to override a distaste for dementia, or fear that they would have to get involved in a greater way. Yet they came to her funeral.....
     

  11. #11
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    Has Mum got a "lifeline" or similar button, so she can call for help if she has a problem when she's on her own in the house? Good idea to get one if not.

    You can also get remote monitoring for gas, floods, etc - but in this area it was going to cost us an arm and a leg so we decided the better solution to leaving the gas on was to get a new cooker with a Flame Safety Device, which cuts out automatically if you leave the gas on but not lit. They're compulsory for cookers in flats etc, but seem a thoroughly Good Idea in general. (We haven't actually got round to getting the cooker yet, just decided we need to!)

    I hope you can sort out a few practicalities to help ensure Mum's safety during times when Brother is out of the house (work plus having a life). It sounds as if she's well capable of living at home, with some adapations. The neighbours may be worried for their own sake - the fear of a gas explosion ripping through the street - so might be reassured that you've taken the problem on board and implemented a solution (either telemonitoring, or new cooker, or high-level over-ride switch so that brother can switch it off when he's out, or whatever). Thank them for their concern and point out that you're grateful for their help and that Mother would welcome their company if they cared to drop round for a coffee?

    Good luck.
     

  12. #12
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    Thanks to everyone for your support and replies, I was in a blind panic yesterday. This has reduced to mild heart palpitations! Reassuring responses from those who have been or are going through the same experiences really do help so thank you again. The gas man is coming over tomorrow and I'm going to our local AS in the afternoon. Thanks again,

    TaraT
     

  13. #13
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    My mum passed out because of an unlit gas cooker but fortunately was found and rushed to hospital so it's really important to make sure it's safe. SS fitted a gas cutoff device above the cooker. TBH, I can understand the neighbours being concerned as their lives and homes are at risk too.

    I also understand their reticence about getting too involved. My mum had a tendency to turn up unannounced on their doorsteps too frequently or at inappropriate times, so I could see why they wanted to keep their distance. It was a shame for Mum but even now, I'm not sure I could cope with an overly attentive neighbour with dementia either, wthout establishing some boundaries.
     

  14. #14
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    sorry to hear the trouble you are having my neighbours where good and sympathetic moor than i can say for many of our so called friends who disappeared of the face of the earth .why some one can be embarressed by this horrible illness is unbelievable and sad Milly
     

  15. #15
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    Hi TinaT,

    I'd just echo what Nebiroth said: we desperately wanted help from SS and couldn't interest them at all! Once they found that Dad would be self-funding and that I was there every day, they said there wasn't really a role for them (Dad didn't want any help because of course he was fine!) We did the things you're saying. We got rid of the gas, we left him with just a microwave, we had telecare packages and talked to the neighbours. Our neighbours were more sympathetic than yours: once they knew that we just wanted them to phone us if there were difficulties, and we would take responsibility for Dad's safety, he became a pet project for some! We were lucky because several of them had had relatives with dementia, so they knew a bit about it. The worst one for us is Dad's wife, who won't visit at all now, because it's too much of a reminder of how she may end up

    I guess your neighbours may just be worried about the safety of their own homes if your Mum may leave the gas on. Maybe they'll be happier when they know that's not going to be a problem any more.

    I hope tomorrow brings much help, and less stress! If you're worried about SS, just phone them and talk to someone. If you ask for help, you won't see them for dust! Sorry, that's a bit cynical, but they're very unlikely to do anything apart from offering you an OT assessment, which could actually be quite useful.

    Love and hugs,

    Sue xxx
     

 

 

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