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Care & carers

Neighbour Needs Care

(18 Posts)
PaperMonster Tue 16-Feb-21 16:23:08

Hi, I’m probably asking the impossible but how do you convince someone they need the care that’s offered to them?

My neighbour thinks she’s independent because she’s a couple of neighbours who will help out if needs be. She self neglects and is terrible at attending hospital or medical appointments, always putting barriers in the way. I’ve had a message from the social worker today to say that she’s declined any support. It’s frustrating as there’s only so much we can do and she needs professional help. Any thoughts or advice are gratefully accepted!

AGAA4 Tue 16-Feb-21 16:27:53

You sound like a lovely, caring neighbour PaperMonster but I don't think there is much you can do if she has refused help from the social worker.

AmberSpyglass Tue 16-Feb-21 16:29:55

Honestly, the only way to help her is to stop helping. And then she can see the reality of the situation.

NellG Tue 16-Feb-21 16:32:46

I think you have to accept and respect her decision. Unless she's a direct danger to herself or others there's not much else you can do.

It's a very sad situation and I hope she appreciates your kindness towards her. Many would give anything to have such a caring neighbour.

Liz46 Tue 16-Feb-21 16:35:35

We are in a similar position. When our neighbour had an operation a few years ago, we popped in every day and I gave her home made soup etc.

She has had another operation and will be coming home tomorrow. Her family do not live in the immediate area and I have told them that because I am shielding, we will not be able to help much. If she needs something urgently we can open her front door and put it on the hall table without going in.

Lolo81 Tue 16-Feb-21 16:39:28

Echoing Amberspyglass here, the best way to help is to withdraw help. It’s being cruel to be kind in this scenario. Social work etc have their hands tied when someone is competent and refuses their intervention. Whilst you carry on with errands etc you’re unwittingly enabling (with the kindest and best of intentions) your neighbour to carry on in this situation.
Wishing you all the very best and I hope your neighbour gets the help they need thanks

Septimia Tue 16-Feb-21 16:45:45

It's difficult to persuade people to accept help. My FiL was dead against it but was finally persuaded to let carers in to remind him about his medication because we told him that he wouldn't be allowed home from hospital without something in place.

If you feel bad about not helping at all or withdrawing help, perhaps you could limit what you do to what you have been doing but not take on any more. As the situation worsens your neighbour will have to ask for assistance. If she does, you could then say that it's beyond your capabilities and she'll have to ask the professionals.

MissAdventure Tue 16-Feb-21 16:48:38

I had to opt out of looking after a very elderly and confused neighbour, years ago.

I was gradually doing more and more; getting her up and dressed, putting her to bed at night, and everything in between.

Social services had said it was her choice not to have carers, until I phoned them and said I was no longer available, and was posting the key to her door through her letterbox)

A week or so later she was found a place in a care home. (Her sister already lived in the home, and it worked out very well, thankfully)

tanith Tue 16-Feb-21 17:03:18

I had to withdraw from helping my 93yr old ex mil when my husband became terminally ill. It was the reality check that was needed she had to have nursing care coming in for a few months but sadly she went downhill fairly quickly and passed away 4 mths later. I do often wonder what if?
You have to harden your heart to be sure she gets the care she needs.

Jaxjacky Tue 16-Feb-21 18:00:54

I assume you alerted the social worker to the fact you are shielding? If there’s nothing formal in place, she may not be allowed home as adult social services are involved, perhaps this may force her hand.

Nannarose Tue 16-Feb-21 18:02:51

So many of us have been in this situation (and wonder if we'll ever be the ones saying 'I'm fine!')

I do think you have to withdraw, and be very clear about what you can and can't do - examples above. Be aware though that any small offer leaves a chink for you to be asked to do more.

You can blame your family situation around Covid, or your own health if you want to be kind about it.

I genuinely think people don't mean to take advantage of others (mostly!) but don't realise how much they are asking of others. My mother had to be told kindly, but forcibly by First Responders that she couldn't keep calling the neighbours to help when she fell.

MissAdventure Tue 16-Feb-21 18:09:56

Oh yes.
I know quite a few neighbours who are regularly called on to pick up someone who falls (as well as the ambulance service)

FarNorth Tue 16-Feb-21 18:09:57

You must tell her sternly that you can't do everything for her.

Make sure the other neighbour(s) are on board too, so they don't end up doing more.

honeyrose Tue 16-Feb-21 19:08:59

PaperMonster. You are obviously very kind and caring and this situation is troubling you, understandably. I’m sure you’re doing as much as you can, although you say she’s now refusing help. Does this lady have any children and if so do you have any contact details for them? If so, I’d be inclined to contact them as they may not be aware of the situation and she may be telling them that’s she’s coping well. This needs careful handling though, as your neighbour says she doesn’t want help. I think some people don’t realise when they DO need help. Pride, denial, maybe memory problems or depression etc etc. My own mother went into a home at the age of 93 as she wasn’t coping at home. I was doing what I could to help her, but she didn’t think she needed help (apart from what I could do and this wasn’t enough as she had Alzheimer’s and was becoming a danger to herself)
and she wouldn’t accept help from social services. I wasn’t coping with looking after my mum (who lived 10 minutes away) and became ill myself. Best wishes.

Hetty58 Tue 16-Feb-21 19:08:59

PaperMonster, I'm very independent and would do just the same, refuse all help - until absolutely desperate, I'm afraid.

Everyone has the right to live their lives the way they choose, thank Heavens. I'd rather have a basic existence in a dusty old house than a living death in a 'care' home myself.

Of course, it's not really up to neighbours (however well meaning) to take up the slack when state or family help is inadequate, either. Please don't impose your help unless it's asked for.

PaperMonster Tue 16-Feb-21 19:34:34

Thank you everyone. She’s the one who’s self isolating as she came into contact with someone with Covid whilst in hospital last week. She was discharged with just over a week left to isolate - which seemed to me a bit strange being that they know she self neglects. But a service from the hospital came to check she could manage the stairs and get on and off the loo, which she could.

I alerted social services to her over Christmas after another episode with her, they then handed control over to the hospital social worker when she was readmitted. Given her circumstances this social worker wanted someone to go in twice a day for a fortnight until she was back on her feet. But she won’t accept that help.

I told her over Christmas when she was having a mostly incoherent rant over the phone at me that the only way I could help her now was to put her bins out. When she was readmitted to hospital both myself and my neighbour did put our feet down and said we wouldn’t be collecting her so she was forced to ask for patient transport. (50 mile round journey to the hospital) So, we are getting there with putting our collective feet down!

My problem is trying not to damage the relationship between her and my daughter as they adore each other ( my daughter’s nine). My other neighbour also has a family and a demanding job - and our neighbour really just doesn’t get that we can’t just drop everything for her.

Thank you all for your kind words and advice xxx

PaperMonster Tue 16-Feb-21 19:39:28

Sorry Honeyrose, I hadn’t seen your response! No, she’s no family other than a sibling hundreds of miles away.

PaperMonster Tue 16-Feb-21 20:15:18

To be fair Hetty, I’ve never imposed my help and neither has the other neighbour who helps. To the contrary, she imposes her demands on us. She has alienated others so that there’s only us two left she can call upon. She’s not well either physically or mentally but does have capacity.