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My dad's elderly neighbour. Dilemma.

(31 Posts)
gillybob Wed 16-Nov-16 14:28:50

Quite a long post warning.

I have a real dilemma concerning my dads elderly neighbour. She is well into her 90's and I feel that she might be being neglected by her family. Not badly used/abused just not cared for.

She has 1 son and a DiL (a lot younger than my dad) who live about 2 miles away from her in a VERY posh house in a VERY nice village. the son seems to visit once or maybe twice a week but only stays a few minutes at a time. DiL is never with him and I would think she only sees her grandchildren once in a blue moon. One of these "visits" is when he brings her a pile of frozen ready meals for her carer to pop into the microwave. He drives a very flash car and is not what you would call "approachable".

More and more recently (and it has got worse since my mum died) she is banging through the wall for my dad. All times of the day and night.He goes round to her and she tells him she is hungry or that her carer is late or that she hasn't seen her son for weeks or whatever. Sometimes she asks him to turn the heating up as her bungalow is cold (it often is). So he resets the timer for her but mysteriously it goes back down.The bungalows have all recently been modernised by the local authority to a very high standard but hers remains without wallpaper, curtains (her son has pinned a sheet up at her bedroom window) etc. despite the tenants being given a grant towards redecoration.

I take my dad shopping twice a week (at least) and always ask if she needs anything. sometimes she asks me to get a few things but then never offers the money. She says that her son keeps her money for her and says that she will need to ask him to pay me (he never does although to be fair we very rarely see him). she says that she has a very good pension income and that her late husband left her quite well off (her words) but to look at her you would think she was destitute. She used to be a very tidy old lady. Always had her hair done nice and wore nice clothes. now she is looking very untidy and just unloved. I know she is lonely and will try anything to get me or my dad to go in. Her sight isn't very good but she is quite with it and has a very good sense of humour.

Last night she collared me when I was dropping my dad off and said she was hungry. Her carer hadn't turned up (so she said) and that the number she had for her son had changed (it seems to have as my dad tried to ring him). She then asked me to go to a very specific shop and get her 3 pies. I must be mad, but thinking about my own late grandma, I drove to the shop and got her the pies. £4.70 (me and my dad went halves) no money offered, although she did offer me a pie. grin

What (if anything) can I do? I don't want to cause trouble (for her or my dad) but feel worried that she is bothering my dad so often now that he is getting a bit fed up. I am also worried that her son might be enjoying her money but not giving her what she needs although to be fair I can't prove anything. i would really appreciate any advice.

gillybob Wed 16-Nov-16 14:32:07

Meant to add, that I did have a little "run in" with the son last year when her electricity went off and I telephoned the LA (its a LA property). They came straight away to fix the problem but someone must have telephoned the son. He came in a right bad temper and had a right "go" at me for ringing the LA and said HE could have dealt with it !

M0nica Wed 16-Nov-16 14:45:58

From the sound of it this could be a case of elder abuse based on mishandling this lady's finances to her disadvantage.

Ring Social Services and also speak to Age UK for help and advice. In both cases make it clear that you are concerned about the possibility of abuse by physical neglect and financial malpractice.

Jane10 Wed 16-Nov-16 14:57:56

Gosh the poor old thing. I think you should do exactly as M0nica says. Don't worry about the son's reaction. You'd be doing the right thing putting her welfare first. Good luck.

br0adwater Wed 16-Nov-16 15:45:49

Also see if the LA can send round a housing officer. It's what they're good at. They can say it's a routine call and no need to mention you.

gillybob Wed 16-Nov-16 15:52:30

Just spoke to my dad who is telling me to leave it. He says that the son can be a bit nasty (I had already worked that out). I think my dad is worried that if there are repercussions the son will think my dad was the one who "started it". Also my dad said that the son said to him (I didn't know this before) that he thinks his mother should be in a home but HE would end up paying for it, so she will have to stay where she is. Charming.

br0adwater Wed 16-Nov-16 15:57:48

Speak to the relevant housing officer at the LA anonymously. They have a Safeguarding policy and will act on an anonymous tip off. You don't want to look back one day and wish you'd done something.

grannypiper Wed 16-Nov-16 16:22:03


f77ms Wed 16-Nov-16 16:25:32

As broawater says , please don`t just leave this .

Juney64 Wed 16-Nov-16 17:07:05

Br0adwater has given you good advice. Get in touch with the Housing Officer. It's unlikely that the son will suspect anything, unlike calling Social Services. My goodness - well into her 90's you say. It sounds as though she really needs you to help. I'd call if I were you, for the sake of your dad as much as the lady next door. Good luck.

pollyparrot Wed 16-Nov-16 17:28:04

We have no idea about this woman's relationship with her family, so my advice is to go carefully. The family could have had a terrible time with this woman in the past and there is no obligation for them to look after her. She may be confused about her money. My MIL is 87 and is a manipulative, nasty old woman who only recently accused us of stealing a range of really expensive jewellery she has. She found it later but didn't see fit to apologise. I've shared this, just so to highlight that there are always two sides to every story.

I feel for you and especially your dad. I would contact social services but not blame the son for anything. The old lady needs a social worker to help her access more services.

M0nica Wed 16-Nov-16 18:36:58

Whether this woman has been a good or bad person in the past, whether her family care for her or not, on a purely human basis, this is a very elderly woman who is no longer able to cope alone. She needs help and probably should be in care.

It is the responsibility of the Local Authority to make sure she is properly cared for when she can no longer look after herself.That applies whether she is lonely and friendless, has a loving family, or one that seems to be exploiting her.

Cresty Tue 06-Dec-16 12:34:43

Such a difficult one to judge but like many people on here say!! better to do something rather than nothing.
The son reminds me of my con man of a ex brother and sister in law, they controlled everything ,no one knew anything and when you asked they got nasty,even getting my mum to create a new will despite her having one she was happy with and how dare he would get nasty with you!! when you are helping this old lady ,contact social services today, the son is a narcissist just like my ex in laws .

Stansgran Tue 06-Dec-16 15:01:50

I was concerned about an elderly neighbour a couple of years ago. A very unpleasant woman but I felt she was not being treated well. The police certainly in the northeast Gillybob have a system where you can report anonymously your concerns . I'll look up my old file but please report it. Sometimes people need care .

Stansgran Tue 06-Dec-16 15:08:14
There is a form on line if you want. It is worth it.

ElaineI Tue 06-Dec-16 20:46:57

Maybe the GP could contact social care if you know who she is registered with?

Falconbird Tue 06-Dec-16 21:31:26

This is a real problem. It sounds as if the elderly lady has dementia. My mother was behaving in a very similar way. I did absolutely all I could for her but I knew all the neighbours were talking behind my back. Mum accused me of all sort of things including taking her pension book. All the food I bought in for her was thrown down the rubbish shute.

All the advice given is very good but of course you need to tread very carefully indeed. The poor lady does need medical help. She may have a urine infection or thyroid problems as well as a possible dementia.

My neighbour went the same way and I was very careful not to step on her sons' toes but I did once have to put her false teeth in.

You said she had Carers calling in. I know they have to report anything worrying when they visit. Maybe you could talk to them?

Good luck with this. The poor lady obviously needs help.

Annierose Tue 06-Dec-16 21:36:45

I too think that you should contact the Safeguarding team at the Council.
I think it quite possible that the old lady is slightly demented, and getting things muddled but the Safeguarding Team are the ones to investigate. If the son is being unpleasant, it will be a shot across his bows.

Some will disagree, but I would do it anonymously and not tell your father. If anyone accuses him of meddling, he can say truthfully that he didn't report it, and will look genuinely surprised!

Faye Tue 06-Dec-16 22:28:20

The thing is you know she is hungry and you know her house is sometimes very cold. If the elderly woman's son has control of her finances and is using her money to feather his own nest she will be just a nuisance to him. How dare he get angry because a neighbour has pulled him up on his neglect.

Please contact the authorities gillybob, this is Elder Abuse and this woman needs your help.

Cold Tue 06-Dec-16 23:12:02

I would tread lightly as you don't really know what is going on. I would perhaps contact the social services anonymously to see if they can assess discretely.

Are you sure that she is hungry/ignored or does she have dementia has just forgotten? - my mother would tell people all sorts of things - many similar to this lady that were not true
- she used to say that no-one was taking care of her - she would forget about the 5 daily visits (2 family, 3 carer)- it was quite upsetting to my DB that she would tell people she hadn't seen him for weeks when he was visiting daily
- she would say that she hadn't eaten when it was quite clear she had - bowls in sink/packets in bin etc
- she would dial 999 and say she had been abandoned - forgetting about the 5 daily visits. It cost a lot to have the door repaired after the police knocked it down following one of these calls when DB could have been around in 5 mins with the key
- DB used to look after her money and pay her bills etc after she became confused - she would tell people she had no money but there was always around £30 in her purse - we decided to do this as she was vulnerable and kept flashing her money around - she once gave a carer £200 from her purse to treat themselves

Possibly this woman's cognition is declining and she cannot remember how to do things like make tea etc anymore.

Sometimes it is difficult for the family and elderly person to accept that they need more care and possibly residential care

MissAdventure Wed 07-Dec-16 09:30:07

Whether the lady is confused or there are bad things going on, its clear that intervention is needed
Please dont turn a blind eye.
Its in everyone's interests to find the right kind of help.

gillybob Wed 07-Dec-16 11:01:12

First of all I would like to thank everyone for their helpful comments and their care and concern. Update; I don't think the old lady has dementia. She is very old and frail and has very poor eyesight but I am sure she is quite "with it" and has a wonderful sense of humour. I don't think she is being abused, as such, but I do feel like she is being neglected. She told me yesterday that she hadn't seen her son for nearly two weeks which seems to be normal for him. I have spoken with two of her daily carers who see her 3 times a day (btw they only stay about 10 minutes) who tell me that the son has been and stocked the fridge and freezer up with ready meals. Both me and my dad run errands for her during the week bringing her much loved pies, fresh bread etc. My dad and I have chatted with her and she says she is lonely. She says her son is a very busy man (doing what? I have no idea, he doesn't work). She has 2 granddaughters (one she sees occasionally, as in maybe 4-5 times a year) and the other she never sees. I asked her straight out if she would like to go into a residential home for company and she said an absolute NO. She says she values living in her own place until she "goes". Yesterday her bungalow was warm (for a change) and I have asked the carer to check it every day which she said she will. Still haven't managed to get a phone number for the son (I think he is deliberately keeping it from her) but did leave him a note expressing my concern (with my mobile number)which has disappeared, but no reply. In the note I mentioned being worried about his mum, the cold bungalow, the lack of food and the poor state of the bungalow following the modernisation. I also asked that she should have a little money as (without being too blunt) she very rarely pays either me or my dad for shopping and says that she does not have any money in the house. I am not sure what else I can do now other than keep looking in on her. Doing a bit of shopping etc. I don't think I could live with myself if she was carted off into a horrible LA home against her wishes. She reminds me so much of my late grandma whom I adored (although she has a better sense of humour then my grandma did). I wish I could catch the son and speak to him face to face although he will probably tell me to mind my own business.

MissAdventure Wed 07-Dec-16 11:32:28

Very difficult situation.
The thing with people remaining in their own homes, with community "care" is that this is very often the result. My mums carers flew in one door and out of the other. Its far from ideal.
Its all so sad..

Falconbird Wed 07-Dec-16 16:33:59

I'm so sorry the elderly lady is scared of being in a Residential Home. My mum fought against it but once she was there she ate properly and gained weight. She was only 5 stone when she went to live there and soon became a healthy 8 and a half stone. She said she liked the sounds of people all around her. I would have liked to have had her live with me but she was impossible to cope with.

As the elderly lady in the OP doesn't seem to have dementia the chances of finding a place in A Residential Home are small, at least that was my experience quite a few years ago. I think she does need to see a doctor. Some of my mum's confusion was caused by a urine infection and when that was sorted out she was much better.

carerof123 Wed 07-Dec-16 17:03:43

Either contact social services or the LA housing officer they will investigate what is happening to this poor lady. Good luck, it is not easy being in this position.