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To worry about dying alone

(159 Posts)
Sourcerer48 Fri 11-Aug-17 10:51:58

I live alone with my dog in a housing complex.
Although I pass the time of day with my neighbours, I dont really know any of them well.
My worry is dying alone with no-one knowing about it.
My son and his family live in New Zealand (13 hours ahead of the UK) and I only speak to them on Skype once every couple of weeks.
Do other Gransnetters share this worry and does anyone have practical suggestions on how to overcome this very real fear?
It also horrifies me to think of my dog locked in the house with no way to get out!

Oldwoman70 Fri 11-Aug-17 11:01:08

I live alone with no family and have the same fear. When I was ill recently I didn't open my curtains for a week and none of my neighbours called to check I was OK - and one of them has a key!

Charleygirl Fri 11-Aug-17 11:03:45

I have a similar worry because I have a cat and the thought of her locked indoors with no food and no way of getting out if I die in my bed is horrendous. At least during the day she can get out via the cat flap but she does not have 24/7 access because I do not want other cats coming indoors.

I do have a cleaner who comes weekly but otherwise it is by invite only. I have no family and friends live many miles away.

The only practical suggestion I have is that you get yourself one of those bracelets which you would wear 24/7 and if eg you fell you could press it and help would come. This does not get around the fact that you or I may die in our sleep. Maybe somebody else will come up with a better suggestion.

minimo Fri 11-Aug-17 11:05:09

Where do you live Soucerer? Do your neighbours also live alone? Do you have health issues?
Do you get out and about during the day? Can you join a local group doing something you are interested in. It sounds to me like you need to get to know those around you or make some local friends.
Please do chat to us here. There may well be a meet up in your local area where you can get to know more people. flowers

kittylester Fri 11-Aug-17 11:08:02

We have just agreed to curtain watch for a couple of neighbours who live on their own. One just had a thr and it dawned on her that she could have fallen and not been noticed for days!

It is a scary prospect but maybe you could do something like that with your neighbours.

Niobe Fri 11-Aug-17 11:11:23

This is a dread for many people as we age. Would it be a good idea to arrange with someone that you will call /text them every morning by say 10 am and if they don't get the call or text they can check up on you or raise the alert.? Most mobiles have free texts nowadays and this will be my plan if I ever find myself living alone. At the moment DH and I are each other's alert.

aggie Fri 11-Aug-17 11:15:54

This house is like Piccadilly Circus , but I remember my Mum and my MIL both opened the curtains before going to bed so the neighbours wouldn't notice if they had a lie in !

bikergran Fri 11-Aug-17 11:18:47

my friends who all lived on the same private row of houses set up a call would ring the other at certain time of the morning the other would then ring the other neighbour (sounds complicated but it worked well) they would give 3 rings on the phone to say all was well...on 2 occasions I and a neighbour had not heard back from one of the we went in with the key and shouted upstairs not reply shouted again no reply...we started panicking only to hear a voice "who is it" ...!! he had overslept...! smile

bikergran Fri 11-Aug-17 11:20:34

I once collapsed on the bathroom floor one min I went to the loo the next min I awoke on the cold floor...manage somehow to crawl on hands n knees to bedroom n get my mobile and ring DD it was a virus I had I got better but it did frighten me. Neighbours have a key of mine.

Charleygirl Fri 11-Aug-17 11:23:57

I have a "keysafe" fitted outside my house but I do not think I have changed the key since I had my front door changed last year.

bikergran Fri 11-Aug-17 11:26:42

Charleygirl I think I may have one of those fitted.

glammanana Fri 11-Aug-17 11:31:12

I to would be terrified of this happening and think the telephone system is good also texting each other is a good idea.We have a call system for emergencies and a visit from a mobile warden twice a week but even that could leave room for improvement in case anything happened in your sleep.

Charleygirl Fri 11-Aug-17 11:36:26

I email a friend at least x2 a day who lives in Scotland. I live in London so she could not exactly pop in. She has worried me a couple of times because there has been a fault with my computer, I could not let her know and instead of ringing me she has been on the verge I think of ringing the police. She is not very contactable by phone.

goldengirl Fri 11-Aug-17 12:23:29

A keysafe is a good idea. I had one for my parents' house but hadn't thought of having one myself!!!!!

I'm lucky in that my family lives nearby but don't pop round every day - thank goodness! Though perhaps we should come to some arrangement. Thanks for this post - it's making me think.

Charleygirl Fri 11-Aug-17 12:32:36

When I was discharged from hospital in 2009 having had surgery following a broken ankle, my local council fitted the keysafe free of charge and I do not live in council property. I doubt if they would do it now because they will not have the money.

shysal Fri 11-Aug-17 12:42:15

DD1 texts me each morning and I reply immediately, so we know we are both all right. My mobile phone is always with me in my pocket or beside my bed. I even take it with me when I have a bath.

I have an elderly neighbour, with no family, who closes her kitchen blind when she goes to bed and opens it when getting up to make her early morning cup of tea. I have also insisted that she removes her door key rather than leaving it on the inside of the lock, so that I can use the one she has given me for access in an emergency. Our houses are at right angles to each other so it is easy to keep an eye out without appearing nosy.

I am not worried about dying alone, but the thought of being taken ill without being able to call for help is scary.

Sourcerer48 Fri 11-Aug-17 13:21:28

Lots of good suggestions here, thank you.
I especially like the idea of having a friend text me once a day.
Minimo: yes, my neighbours also live alone and luckily I dont presently have any health issues. Perhaps it might be an idea to set up some kind of link between us. Certainly given me something positive to think about.

henetha Fri 11-Aug-17 14:56:50

This is a justified worry and one that some of us live with daily. So you are not being unreasonable, sourcerer48. Would your dog bark maybe if you were on the floor ?
My neighbours have a key, but how would they know if I'm laying on the floor dying? I might get one of those things you wear around your neck, but would I be able to press it if I'm about to expire?
It's not so much the actual dying, but the thought of having a stroke or heart attack that worries me. I don't know what the answer is.

M0nica Fri 11-Aug-17 15:34:22

When Dc were under 5, DH was away from home a lot so I arranged with my parents that when he was away I would ring them every morning and if I didn't ring they would ring me and get help if I did not reply.

Nowadays it doesn't have to be telephone call. An email or text to a son or daughter or neighbour every day would be one solution.

harrigran Fri 11-Aug-17 15:36:07

I fear that could happen to us, I have a sister who lives a few miles away but wouldn't think to check as I only see her a couple of times a year. I have a neighbour who holds a key and would phone me and if got no reply would pobably check. This neighbour never opens her blinds so I never know if she is up and about.

Jalima1108 Fri 11-Aug-17 15:48:22

We worried constantly about MIL who refused to move to sheltered accommodation or go into a care home. She insisted on going upstairs when we could have made a very nice bedroom downstairs for her and refused to have a stairlift. However, her neighbour was very good and was on 'curtain watch' to see if the kitchen curtains were not opened by 10am at the latest.
My sister had a fall outside and couldn't get any of the neighbours to hear and couldn't move. Her DD had asked her to always keep her mobile in her pocket but she hadn't done (I think she does now).
I think having one of the alarms that you wear around your neck is a good idea and perhaps having a 'neighbourhood watch' between yourselves is another good idea. A keysafe is another good idea.

I must say I never thought about it when I was younger and on my own with DC.

annsixty Fri 11-Aug-17 16:12:08

This thread comes at an appropriate or opportune time for me.
I have been keeping in touch with Rubylady since she came out of hospital.
I last spoke to her on Sunday and she was rather tired , having been keeping herself busy.
I haven't been in touch until yesterday when I rang twice with no reply and I have tried again today several times.
I have no other way of getting in touch apart from a PM which I will try. I am concerned now.

shysal Fri 11-Aug-17 17:02:42

annsixty, that is worrying! Is she still having carers coming in? If so, they would report anything untoward.

callgirl1 Fri 11-Aug-17 17:07:50

Ann, I do hope that Ruby is alright.
My husband had one of the alarm buttons worn around the neck, but they also supplied a fall one, if you fall it sends the alarm, if they don`t hear back from you within a specified (quite short) time, then the contacts are notified.
At the moment, I`m OK, my daughter lives with me, but she`s disabled, and I worry about her when I`m not here, but she won`t have one of the neck alarms.

ginny Fri 11-Aug-17 17:10:14

My Mother in Law makes a call to DH ( on his mobile) each morning which he does not answer unless it rings more than 3 times. If she has not rung by 10 a m we call her. Maybe OP could make this arrangement with a friend or neighbour .