Desperate neighbour situation

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by Margi Dunum, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. Margi Dunum

    Margi Dunum Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015
    #1 Margi Dunum, Jul 5, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
    My neighbour's wife is in what I assume to be the late stages of dementia. He now admits he must find some residential care for her, but he just CANNOT do anything about it. He is old and sick himself, and also looks after his disabled son. He WILL NOT ask for help. We do what we can but cannot force him. His children don't appear to do anything, but maybe he is the same with them as he is with us?

    The house is filthy and the kitchen unsafe.

    Help please.
  2. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    My first thought is that you could perhaps phone the Social Work department and explain that there is a vulnerable adult at that address and you believe him to be at risk. I would imagine you wouldn't even need to leave your name if you didn't want to.
  3. Margi Dunum

    Margi Dunum Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015

    Thanks for reply. We thought of that: our local SS is so over whelmed that it takes weeks to respond, and once before they sent a student, who ticked boxes, that is why he will not ask again. Also, we are the only ones who know what is happening, and we fear the relationship would break down if we reported the situation.
  4. theunknown

    theunknown Registered User

    Apr 17, 2015
    Unfortunately I have no advice, but just writing from my own experience. My mum (who's 81) was on a mental health ward before I even knew anything was wrong. Her sister rang me to tell me this. Even then I thought she was just 'in hospital'. My aunt had mentioned various times over the previous 12 months that I needed to get PoA, but everytime I spoke to my mum it was my aunt who was making a fuss over nothing. For obvious reasons I didn't press the case with my mum that she needed to hand control of her finances over to me. In my mum's case there was no drastic event, but her neighbours had become increasingly worried about her. It didn't help that she'd been put on a high dose of steriods for an unrelated condition and I, like her doctors, thought she was suffering from 'steroid psychosis' (which, in the majority of cases, goes away when the optimum dose is found for the individual).

    I didn't know her neighbours, so I was only hearing about what the family knew. A couple of things happened (being found outside the chemist's in her nightie when it was night), and it was the neighbours who got in touch with social services. I wanted to take my mum to my home from the hospital, but when that was mentioned they sectioned her. She felt tricked because she'd been assured that she was there on a voluntary basis (which she was, initially).

    I know I'm not offering anything that helps, but what I will say is it's only when it can't be avoided that those who are there to help someone's mental health take action, if they haven't asked for it themselves. Perhaps that's a good thing, as once you get into sectioning and care homes you're taking away someone's liberty to live their life as they want to. I'd say just carry on doing what you're doing. My mum would have perhaps been in a care home sooner if she hadn't had her neighbours noticing what was going on. It's not like she didn't have regular contact with family, but it's very difficult to chose this for your own parent, spouse, etc, and I imagine whenever possible you pretend it's just old age.
  5. jan.s

    jan.s Registered User

    Sep 20, 2011
    Hi Margi, that is a very difficult situation, but my thoughts are that there is at least one vulnerable adult living there, and clearly the man is struggling.

    Maybe he would be grateful for someone intervening and taking the responsibility from him. I do see your point about upsetting him, but how would you feel is something dreadful happened to one of them?

    I would definitely be phoning SS, and I'm sure they will act quickly if someone is at risk, because it's a safeguarding issue. If he asks you about it, be honest and say that you were concerned for him as well as the other two living there.
  6. Margi Dunum

    Margi Dunum Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015

    Thanks. Alot of food for thought!
  7. LYN T

    LYN T Registered User

    Aug 30, 2012
    Brixham Devon
    I have had some experience -well sort of. My ex-husband had a Gran and Grandad who were supposedly looked after by his Dad. His Dad went on holiday and asked ex-husband to keep an eye on them -they lived about 10 miles away. To cut a long story short, lazy ex husband didn't visit them for 3 days although no one answered the phone. He wasn't bothered but I was. :eek: I drove up to their house and I couldn't believe what I saw. The house was filthy-dog poo everywhere:eek: Clothes everywhere/dirty dishes/out of date food in the fridge/house hadn't been cleaned etc. Obviously ex's Dad hadn't been there for quite some time. Gran had dementia and Grandad was physically infirm and couldn't leave his bed.

    Gran had stopped the meals on wheels and told me a man had come to the door and she had given him all of her money as she wanted him to get her some cigarettes (he never returned). I phoned SS's they turned up and almost vomited at the state/smell of the house. Grandad was taken to a NH amd Gran was taken to a care home. She knew it was me who made the phone call and never spoke to me again-even in her Dementia world she knew she didn't like me-she didn't exactly know why-but I was THAT TERRIBLE WOMAN. Did I ever regret what I did-not on my life. By the way Grandad was extremely happy to be away from Gran-it wasn't a match made Heaven.

    Sometimes we have to do things that normally we wouldn't do. Please make that call to SS's. You will have done your best-no regrets is a fairly good feeling to have.

    Take care

    Lyn T
  8. Margi Dunum

    Margi Dunum Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015
  9. Jinx

    Jinx Registered User

    Mar 13, 2014
    I have to agree with Lynn, very difficult situation but if anything happened to any of them and you hadn't alerted SS, you would always ha e to live with 'what if'. You would be doing what you know to be best for them all in the long run although it may seem to be interfering but a situation like this shouldn't be allowed to carry on. It's not just one person involved here but two very vulnerable people who can't make their own decisions and one elderly man who would probably find it a relief to have some help.

    Sent from my iPad using Talking Point
  10. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    #10 Witzend, Jul 6, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
    Do you have contact details for the couple's children? If so, or if you can find out, speaking to them would seem to be the way to go, though maybe you have done this already. It is possible that they have tried to organise help but the couple won't have it - this is not at all uncommon. Even if help is sent, there is not much anyone can do - unless lack of capacity has been shown - if the person won't allow carers or social workers into the house.

    It can be extremely difficult to help or 'interfere' when you are not related and the person still officially has capacity. I had this dilemma not long ago with an elderly neighbour, who I found to my horror had been throwing away very large sums of money on a lottery scam. She might have very early dementia but I have seen no definite signs. I was urged by many people to barge in and take over her affairs - I was told it was my duty - but this was impossible when I was not related and she did have children who were at least partly aware of what was going on and had repeatedly warned her. But their hands were also tied to a large extent because their mother had capacity, and the law takes the view that people are free to throw their money away if they wish.

    If the couple's children can't or won't do anything, then I think all you can do is inform social services in explicit terms, though I do see that this is very difficult if you think they will know it was you, and resent it.

    Sometimes it takes a crisis of some sort for things to change, though it is very hard to stand back and wait for this to happen. We knew an old couple, family friends of OH's, where she had advanced dementia and he stubbornly refused any help - until HE fell and broke a hip. They then went into separate care homes and the old chap told OH that he wished it had happened a couple of years previously - he was having a bit of a life again. Sadly he only lived a few more months to enjoy it. He was just too proud and independent to accept any help until he no longer had any choice.
  11. Margi Dunum

    Margi Dunum Registered User

    Jul 5, 2015

    Thanks, this almost exactly mirrors our problem. I do believe that it will take a crisis to get anything done. We must just keep vigilant.

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