My 88 year old neighbour has been hit by her husband who has Alzheimers

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Adele, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Adele

    Adele Registered User

    Sep 9, 2006
    1
    My neighbour is 88 and her husband is 86, they have been married for 5 years. He has been diagnosed with Alzheimers for the last 2 years or so. I am aware of the illness as my Grandma had it, she died 20 years ago. She was forgetful and unable to look after herself although she knew us all till the end.
    Anyway, my problem is this.......
    I live in a semi-detached and practically every night I am woken by the most terrible shouting. My neighbour, Evie, tells me her husband demands sex from her and when she refuses he calls her all the names under the sun and tells her she is useless and she must leave the house. I can hear this although not every word clearly. It is obvious the most dreadful row is happening. That is bad enough but she has told me that he has pushed her and just last week when he told her to go, she went to another bedroom to sleep and he followed her, pulled back the bedsheets and then slapped her face and told her he was going to kill her. She was terrified. Bearing in mind she is frail and less than 5 feet tall, he is probably 5' 10.She has told his family but they don't seem to be taking it seriously. She is his primary carer. I have spoken with his son but he doesn't seem to understand what it's like hearing this through a bedroom wall in the middle of the night. It's not the noise, it upsets me that she may be being hurt or have fallen or worse. Do I speak with her doctor, do I call the police , I'm in that terrible dilemma of possibly being seen as interfering by his family or full of unforgivable guilt if she was hurt and I hadn't done anything.

    Any advice would be appreciated......

    PS I have read your other 'conversations' and my love and best wishes to you all , what a lovely atmosphere this site has especially for those who possibly feel no one else will understand
     
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    39,429
    #2 jenniferpa, Sep 9, 2006
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2006
    I would call the police. You probably will be blamed for interfering, your neighbour probably won't press charges and your name will be mud all round, but it is the right thing to do. While it's not his "fault", your neighbour should not have to live in fear. And, I would keep doing it everytime you hear the runctions. Actually, I would think there's a good chance that if he's being as aggressive as that, when the police show up, he'll be agressive to them as well - it's not like a normal domestic dispute where the aggressor can be quite reasonable with outsiders - it's the dementia talking. This sounds like someone who should be sectioned, or whatever it's called. Also, you might research refuges for battered women for her.

    JMHO

    Jennifer

    Edited to add
    This is the link to the 24 hour domestic hotline
    http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/domesticviolence/domesticviolence40.htm
    They accept calls not only from the abused, but also concerned friends.
     
  3. Tender Face

    Tender Face Account Closed

    Mar 14, 2006
    5,379
    NW England
    Hi Adele. Sure lots of people will have different opinions on best course of action... my humble thoughts......

    I sense that as much as your concern for Evie, you are sensitive to the husband because of your knowledge of Alzheimers through your grandma? That's absolutely not a criticism .... you wouldn't be here if you weren't thoughtful and caring enough.....

    I hear so often here 'It's the disease' - and find a lot of comfort from it myself ... but domestic violence is domestic violence whether Alzheimers is in the equation or not ...... and there's clearly a very vulnerable lady here who needs help..... sounds like if it doesn't come from you just now, where will it? (And that's in sympathy not to put pressure on you)......

    I think when someone is clearly in danger there is no such thing as 'interfering'...
    I'm afraid I wouldn't be waiting for the 'next time' to call the Police.... social services - emergency duty officer if necessary - demanding referral to their DV team ..... and you need support too....

    As you have gathered, lots here if you need it ...

    Please do let us know how things go for you and your neighbours.....

    Gladdens the heart to know caring neighbours exist ... well done!

    Love Karen (TF), x


    Sorry if that all sounds a bit blunt ....
     
  4. Rosalind

    Rosalind Registered User

    Jul 2, 2005
    203
    Wiltshire
    My instinct would be to go straight round and ring the doorbell. If she is being threatened, offer her refuge, and then ring the police or social services. She is more likely to decide enough is enough at that moment than later, when all sorts of emotions, shame, pity, 'not liking to cause a fuss' will come into the mix. She needs protection if he is being violent.
     
  5. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    4,348
    Birmingham Hades
    Hi Adele
    Evie is fortunate in having a neighbour like you and she does need help.
    I agree with Karen Ring Social Service emergency desk speak to the duty social workerand push it from there.
    The police would probably put it as a domestic issue any way.
    The husband does need help but Evie is the priority at the moment.
    Come back if you need more help
    Norman
     
  6. Cate

    Cate Registered User

    Jul 2, 2006
    1,370
    Newport, Gwent
    Hi Adele

    It was so sad to read your post. I think it's very important to telephone the Police as soon as you hear him kicking off, and keep phoning 999 till they arrive. The Police have the power to carry onto prosecution if they think ABH / GBH has taken place, even without the lady pressing charges, but in the circumstances I dont feel they would.

    However, and more importantly the incident/s would be logged. You could also approach when they arrive and give the Officers some background to the abuse that you have heard in the past and request that they get Social Services involved by calling out the On Call Duty Social Worker straight away.

    Yes his family will not appreciate what you are doing, and may never speak to you again, but maybe they will then get their heads out of the sand and start helping, or at least recognising they have a problem with their dad.

    It sounds as if this poor woman is in real danger, I used to work for Women's Aid, and believe me, she is probably terrified not just during the nights when he kicks off, but she probably tip toes around him all day too, it is not fair that anyone should live in fear, let alone some poor lady in advancing years. I wouldn't mind betting that she has not told you half of what goes on.

    As previously suggested, I would telephone Women's Aid, they are not just there to whisk women into refuges, they are also there to help and support victims of domestic violence in their own homes. Your neighbour may well appreciate talking to someone who is outside her situation, and unknown to her. They would meet her anytime, and anywhere. At least find the local number for her, and have it to hand in case.

    I take my hat off to you Adele for careing about this lady, too many people close their eyes and ears to domestic violence (what ever the reason). All credit to you for your careing enough to keep an eye on her, but please, please take the plunge and get her some help. I know it would be tough for you, but we are all here to support you.

    Please, please let us know how she is.
    Love
    Cate
     
  7. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Registered User

    Aug 20, 2006
    3,518
    I can only echo what has been said above. Particularly if the situation has reached the point where it's affecting your health.
     
  8. BillieJay

    BillieJay Registered User

    Aug 31, 2006
    10
    I'd only add one thing to what everyone else has said. When the abuse is happening, you need the police.Social Services can come later - the police may well involve them anyway. I had to deal with the police a few years ago when we had neighbours from hell in the area, and I found that I got the best out of them wth a personal approach. Just from my own experience, I'd suggest ringing your local station and talking to someone, or better still going to see them. They'll be much better prepared to respond when you ring them in the middle of the night, and you may even get a different (direct) number to ring and a personal contact, without having to go through the 999 switchboard and explain.
    I hope things can be sorted for everyone's sake, but Evie's safety (and sanity) have to come first here.

    HTH

    BJx
     
  9. Nutty Nan

    Nutty Nan Registered User

    Nov 2, 2003
    785
    Buckinghamshire
    Just a thought

    I have no first-hand knowledge of such situations (thank goodness), but just wonder whether it might be kinder and less dramatic all round if Social Services could be involved before the need arises to summons the police in the dead of night? I assume that Social Services would be better trained/informed to deal with an Alzheimer patient who becomes violent, rather than the Police, who may not take his medical condition into consideration?
    There is no question that steps need to be taken to make sure that this elderly lady is safe, day and night, but it would be very sad if her husband was arrested and locked into a police cell without allowances for his lack of understanding.

    What a sad situation for everyone. I do hope this can be resolved with a minimum of anger and hurt!
     

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