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Neighbour with dementia

(22 Posts)
ExD Mon 20-Jul-20 14:24:27

My friend lives in one of a small set of four flats. The 90 year old lady downstairs has started (among other things) shoughting and screaming during the night and disturbing everyone. She also awakens them by switching the tv on at full volume.
They phone her son who comes and settles her, but he says there is nothing else he can do because she flatly refuses to go into residential care, and there is no way he can force her. Obviously the disturbed sleep is getting them down and interfering with their social life. The son is retired and can catch up on his sleep during the day, but they can't.
Can someone be compelled to go into a home if they flatly refuse?

kittylester Mon 20-Jul-20 15:16:53

, Do you know that the lady in question has dementia?

If so, I would point the son in the direction of the Alzheimer's Society so he can get some advice.

If all else fails, you could ring Social Services as the lady sounds as though she shouldn't be living on her own.

ExD Mon 20-Jul-20 15:29:02

I think my friend has perhaps assumed that anyone behaving like that must have dementia. she has lived there for several years, never went out unless the son took her for a drive. She has carers in twice a day but has always been solitary.
Maybe this lock down has pushed her over the top?
It must be awful though for the people living there. It seems the son can't put her into care, he is elderly himself and not capable of looking after her on his own, from what she says. If she refuses to move, what can they suggest he does?!
He seems to be doing his best.

Alexa Mon 20-Jul-20 15:37:10

It is a great pity somebody cannpt shout and scream without disturbing the neighbours. It's not that I don;t sympathise with the neighbours. I do, but also housing quality really should allow individuals especially eccentric ladies space to shout and scream at night if they so desure.

MissAdventure Mon 20-Jul-20 15:38:18

I had a neighbour with dementia, and basically ended up as her unpaid carer for over a year.

That is, until I phoned social services and explained very clearly that I was about to put her key through her letterbox and would not accept any responsibility for her anymore.

(She did have family and also carers, but she needed a lot more input than they were giving)

From "It's her choice" things soon changed, and she was put into a home within a couple of weeks.

Her sister lived in the home already, and they were happy to be together again.

Chewbacca Mon 20-Jul-20 16:15:18

It is a great pity somebody cannpt shout and scream without disturbing the neighbours. It's not that I don;t sympathise with the neighbours. I do, but also housing quality really should allow individuals especially eccentric ladies space to shout and scream at night if they so desire

Well, yes, in a perfect world where we all live in hermetically sealed houses with perfect sound proofing, or we live in a field miles away from our nearest neighbours. But the vast majority of us don't. We live cheek by jowl with our neighbours; some more closely than we would like. I wouldn't be too happy if my neighbours suddenly started to scream and shout in the middle of the night, whether I had to be up for work the next morning or not!

ExD the advice given by MissA is one from experience; I know from previous posts that HER next door neighbour's condition impacted heavily on her for a long time. If you can summon help from Social Services, you can at least make them aware of the situation for the future.

Septimia Mon 20-Jul-20 16:17:04

I wonder if the nighttime noise is because she's having nightmares, perhaps due to medication. My DH gets more nightmares now than before he was given tablets for blood pressure, heart and cholesterol.

Even so, it's still disturbing. Maybe it's worth asking the son if the GP could look at her medication and maybe prescribe alternatives.

welbeck Mon 20-Jul-20 16:38:23

she is not able to live alone.
either someone must live with her, or she must move.
if she lacks mental capacity and is deemed to be at risk living there, then steps can be taken by ss.
having a live-in carer is v expensive, and you need cover too.
if the flat is rented, contact the landlord.
has she had an assessment for dementia; there are some advantages in having a diagnosis, but sadly not medical.
it is a progressive incurable condition. some medication can take the more extreme edges off, but not everyone can take it.
it is tricky. does the son recognise that she has dementia. perhaps he cannot face the responsibility of making decisions. so perhaps if someone else contacted ss, that would take the pressure off him a bit ?

humptydumpty Mon 20-Jul-20 16:57:40

This is so sad for the lady concerned, whether she has dementia or not she must be very frightened and upset. Her son really has to recognise this, it is simply cruel to leave her in this situation, regardless of whether she wants to go into a home or not.

agnurse Mon 20-Jul-20 19:08:34

In my area, if there are concerns, a capacity assessment can be ordered. If the person is found to lack capacity, their personal directive can be enacted so that the individual named as their agent can make decisions on their behalf. (If there is no personal directive, a loved one can apply to court for guardianship. If there's no one to take on this role, the Office of the Public Guardian can step in.) I would imagine there is similar legislation in the UK.

The reality is that if she's cognitively intact, she has the right to live at risk. But that does not mean she has the right to disturb others.

ValerieF Tue 21-Jul-20 21:05:37

Agree with agnurse. IF the person is deemed to have capacity there is nothing anyone else can do. BUT they cannot annoy other people because then it comes under a different act. Public nuisance act. Have any of the residents approached the person? She may be deaf and not know she has the t.v. up so loud at night. Just saying as I often turn t.v on in the small hours but am not hard of hearing so I keep it low.

But in answer to your, if somebody has capacity they cannot be forced to go into a home against their will and thank goodness for that!

Surely the people can give this 90 year old some consideration? Try to get through to her, buy ear plugs or something?

Jaxjacky Tue 21-Jul-20 21:24:14

If the assumption she has dementia was removed, what would the OP’s friend do? Maybe approach her..has anyone tried that, rather than ringing the son, or is there more to it?

jenpax Tue 21-Jul-20 21:43:07

The poor lady must be very scared and miserable and her son sounds as if he is at his wits end too. A very distressing situation all round.
I agree with the suggestion to contact social services, but I would try to get the son to do so. he might need to be a bit clearer on her deteriorating health,and his own inability to manage

Grandmafrench Tue 21-Jul-20 21:48:04

You say that she's 90. It would be safe to assume then, particularly if she needs carers to visit twice a day, that she now has some level of incapacity. It is possible that the situation is just barely "managed". It is also possible that her GP is not aware of this new development - particularly because of the problems over the last 4 or 5 months.

Adult Social Care should really be approached so that they can be advised - if they are in fact unaware - that this lady requires an assessment. It is possible that she is struggling and unfit to live alone now. It is also possible that her meds need reviewing and it is just possible that, if she is deemed fit to live alone, that some extra checks and care may then be provided. It's not a situation that should be left for neighbours to manage by calling out her relative on an ad hoc basis. That's just irresponsible - it's unfair on the lady and her neighbours. He may well be unable to take care of her himself, but her Son should now take the lead in speaking to his Mother's GP about this worrying situation and giving the problems the best chance of an early resolution.

Alexa Wed 22-Jul-20 22:41:57

I hope the poor lady will get something to soothe her agitation. It must be upsetting for her neighbours to hear her.

Hithere Thu 23-Jul-20 03:47:54

Another vote for agnurse

ExD Thu 23-Jul-20 16:37:29

It seems it may be nightmares from what she said today. She does have some dementia but is taking (I think) beta blockers for blood pressure, and they can give some people nightmares. Yesterday the carers dropped her and not being allowed to do heavy lifting, they called an ambulance and she was admitted to hospital even though she didn't lose consciousness. They sent her home this morning. What a shame they didn't take the opportunity to assess her.

PinkCakes Thu 23-Jul-20 18:20:29

The poor woman needs to be assessed (Social Worker) to determine whether or not see's got mental capacity to make decisions. If she hasn't, then she can be made to go into a home. If she has got the mental capacity, then perhaps the son could contact the GP, and get medication for his mother.

Luckygirl Thu 23-Jul-20 19:48:36

It is very difficult - I remember as a SW I visited an old lady who was frankly a danger - the chances of her setting fire to the whole block were very real and I had to have the well-being of the neighbours very much in my mind; not just that of the lady herself. She had to be evicted in the end - the council could not be responsible for all the residents once the situation was known.

ExD Sun 26-Jul-20 13:20:41

That sounds dreadful Luckygirl to be evicted from her flat (what ever the reasons. Where did the poor woman go?

Davida1968 Sun 26-Jul-20 13:32:05

ExD, if I was in your position, for my own peace of mind (and peace at night!) I would talk to Social Services and explain your concerns. It may be that they already have this woman "on their books", but either way, I think they would need to act upon a neighbour's referral of genuine anxiety, and at least look into matters. (Especially given her age and the fact that she lives alone, albeit with carers coming in daily.) Good luck - I hope that things improve very soon for all concerned.

Luckygirl Sun 26-Jul-20 15:51:40

She went to a residential home where she settled and was very happy. It was so hard, but the block was connected to mains gas and she had done several very dangerous things - about 20 others were at risk - what does one do?