To go mental at my aunt?

(21 Posts)

I wrote months ago and got excellent advice about this situation. Basically my aunt moved in with my grandad to be his main carer. Her choice. She hadn't been very good at looking after herself so my sis and I would have preferred professional help but grandad and her were happy with the arrangement.
She wasn't keeping the place clean, wasn't washing his clothes, giving him out of date food, hoarding things and we also found she was using his money as her own.
She is a very damaged person, having suffered from d.v, had her kids taken from her in the past. We all have overlooked lots of things in the past, trying to just keep the peace.
This all came out just after our mum and grandma died and I had a baby.
Anyway to cut a long story, we got rid of the bed bugs. It cost thousands of pounds. We employed a cleaner for the flat. District nurses help with his personal care. I took control of the finances and got joint power of attorney with her instead of just solely her. Grandad has been clean and fed and the flat has been kept clean too.
We had been quite freaked out by the bed bugs, with us having a premature baby. Her dd, who hadn't been taken into care had a baby. We were quite worried about how she would cope but I decided I couldn't take on any more stress and didn't get too closely involved. I passed down things my dd had grown out of and told her things if she asked.
I became pregnant in October and had terrible morning sickness. I have to admit my checking of bank statements wasn't as thorough as previously. I just made sure there was no big amounts being withdrawn on his card that I didn't know about. Grandad knows the pin too and it wouldn't be the first time she has asked him for it and used his card for things. Nothing out of the ordinary. I didn't visit at all in November, due to the sickness but spoke on the phone most days. I miscarried in December so the last month has been pretty awful.
I went round on the 21st to find that things were pretty much back to square one. I hadn't noticed that the cleaner hadn't been paid. My aunt had told her not to bother. Grandad's clothes were pretty smelly and lots of food was way past the use by date.
I said the cleaner has to start coming again but unfortunately she can no longer fit us in. The nurses haven't been in weeks, due to staff shortages. My aunt said she had just been busy with the new baby and Christmas and that she had been too upset by my miscarriage to do the laundry.
I got his clothes all cleaned and helped him have a shower, cut his nails.
My DSis came back up for Christmas and spent most of the time cleaning the flat and chucking stuff out.
Today, she found a bed bug in his house. We showed it to our cousin who was their with her dd. She said she had lots of them in her house and they were harmless.
I feel like crying. I feel like we have let him down by not taking care of him. We are back to square one with the bed bugs. I feel guilty for that little baby living in that filth. I think the bugs have been being carried to and fro between the two houses.
What the hell am I going to do now? DSis will help all she can but has to go back down south for work tomorrow.
This is just awful. Social services were utterly useless previously, despite her being known to them. I am at breaking point.
Sorry this is so long. Thank you for reading.

LynetteScavo Wed 02-Jan-13 23:42:02

There's no point going mental at your aunt. She's doing her best, although it's not good enough.

I would be chasing the nurses. Not enough staff? shock

I think the only thing you can do is pay for professional help and make sure it happens between you, and your Dsis.

That sounds really awful, I am not sure who you can try to contact now, I didn't want you to be unanswered but am not much help.
You sound like you are doing a great job of trying to help, and you have your new baby to look after too.
Is your grandad happy with the arrangement? I suppose there isn't much you can do if he is.
Hoping that someone knowledgable comes along to advise you about the baby living there...
You sound v nice by the way. X

DontYouJingleMyChristingle Wed 02-Jan-13 23:45:11

This is abuse, financial and neglect.

You need to contact ss again, go to management level, it is a child protection issue too, if I have it right that your cousin's baby lives there too? If so duty ss officer should pass report to both adult and child services if you contact them.

You need to get her removed from POA and change his card details - new pin etc...

DontYouJingleMyChristingle Wed 02-Jan-13 23:49:10

Oh and you need to make a complaint to the pct about lack of district nurses.

I want to go mental at her as she told the cleaner to stop coming and didn't get across to her dd what bed bugs were and how they bite etc. She also didn't say when the nurses stopped coming too.
I'm wondering about speaking to my cousin's hv. I know where they are. I'm really concerned about that tiny baby. My cousin needs help and support but I really can't stretch myself any further. sad
My grandad doesn't want to upset my aunt. However, this is why there are so many problems. She is never made to face up to things. The rest of us just pick up the pieces.
I would do anything for my grandad. He is my complete hero. He is utterly amazing for his age. Yes, there are things that he cannot physically manage any longer but he is as sharp as a tac and has a heart of gold.
I want to believe that my aunt is just feckless but occassionally think she has other motives. I think another call to social services is in order. After pest control, of course. sad

Cousin and her dd live in another house but obviously didn't check for bugs after last infestation. Dh and I took our place apart. My thought is that she now has an infestation and that has been carried back to grandad again.
I don't think there has been any financial irregularities since she was initially caught. Grandad insisted that the police weren't involved, Although I wanted to. That was when I was added to poa. My dh is going to thoroughly check the statements for me tomorrow whist I deal with the bed bugs. Meanwhile dd will have to be offloaded to my friends.
Wish me luck with SS tomorrow.

DontYouJingleMyChristingle Thu 03-Jan-13 00:11:33

Good luck, if you don't get any joy go through operator at council to find out head of adult social services and draft a written complaint directly to them (email is fine), they will have to respond within the complaints timescale (normally 10-20 days), you can escalate to director if response not satisfactory.

ZebraInHiding Thu 03-Jan-13 00:28:07

Sounds like a horrid situation. sad good luck!

floweryblue Thu 03-Jan-13 00:58:06

OP sounds like you are in a very difficult situation where you and your family need help from quite a lot of departments of social services.

Your aunt is not coping, that is not her fault, from what you have said she is doing her very best, but how does anybody cope with the situation and commitments you have outlined?

You need to convince SS that your grandad needs temporary emergency care (I think you can get six weeks free) while you get his house into a suitable state for him to live in. As I understand it, you and your family's situation will be considered (my Nana broke her hip a few days ago, so I am repeating what has been told to me by NHS staff).

AlbertaCampion Thu 03-Jan-13 01:12:31

Nothing to add to the excellent advice given here,, but just wanted to add my sympathy. What a difficult situation.

Astelia Thu 03-Jan-13 01:33:43

What an awful situation. One thought- if you do organise another cleaner for the house make sure they have your phone number. If they are not being paid or if there are problems in the house you need to know about it.

FarrahFawcettsFlick Thu 03-Jan-13 13:06:55

I'm sorry but unless I've read the post wrong I don't think your aunt is actually helping in any meaningful way and is infact adding to your DGF and your family's problems.

We're all busy but your aunt offered to move in and look after her father? Using her grandchild as an excuse not to cook/clean etc... is a weak excuse. As for using your miscarriage (I'm sorry) as another excuse - words fail me.

I understand how tricky it can be to criticise family, so don't. Go back to SS, explain the situation and ask for another SW visit to appraise and monitor. Can they get a care package in place which would remove the need for your aunt to be the primary carer? If you have POA does this also give you the right to talk to your DGF GP? The GP should be able to set up the district nurse again and inform you rather than your aunt of any changes.

I am sorry it's fallen on your shoulders. Is there anyone else apart from your aunt who could help with your DGF?

I don't think "going mental" at your aunt is going to help. I would start with AgeUk who will give excellent advice about what help you can get with cleaning/ care etc. Also, I would speak to environemental health about getting the house cleaned again, and mention your cousins house to SS, as you say her baby is at risk at the moment. I think you need to remove your aunt from POA and find someone else, possibly your sister to take her place. Good luck

I'd also like to say how sorry I am to hear about your miscarriage thanks

CaptChaos Thu 03-Jan-13 13:27:19

Bed bugs? Dear god! Your poor DGF!

Be very careful where you sit and what you touch when you go round there, as they are easy to bring home with you! They can also attract cockroaches who are their natural predators.

I think maybe your family needs to have another think about where your DGF lives and with whom. Your aunt has proven for the second time that she is incapable of looking after him properly, and you all need to stop covering for her. What she is doing is abusive, either deliberate or through neglect or sheer fecklessness. SS need to extract a digit, as do the district nurses (are you sure they weren't told not to bother as well?), if they weren't and it was just down to staff shortages, then a well worded complaint to the PCT is in order, raising your concerns about their safeguarding procedures.

I do hope you get everything sorted, it is stressful, but it seems like you feel the same about your DGF as I did about mine, so you will find a way.

Its been a long day of phoning people and explaining the same things over and over. I've made an appointment with granda's gp for Monday. I spoke to adult services and they are going to get back to me ASAP. Rentokil are going back into respray the house. I spoke to my cousin's hv - she is going to drop in and hand in the book bag the baby is due. Nothing happening so far but the ball is rolling.
Tomorrow, I'm going to see him and hope I don't find too many bugs. It makes my skin crawl just thinking about it.
I'm just bypassing my aunt. We involved her the last time and it hasn't got us anywhere. My grandad is very loyal to her and doesn't want to upset her so the next few days/weeks could be troublesome.

ZebraInHiding Thu 03-Jan-13 22:12:18

Sounds like you have made a great start on sorting things. Well done!

cleas Thu 03-Jan-13 22:20:16

It looks like you're getting things sorted but just to help with the bugs it's well worth getting a proper heat treatment done rather than a spray. Have you already called rentokil? If not try a bedbug specialist instead. It will save you money.
Oh and they really don't attract cockroaches... grin
Good luck!

Rentokil used a heat pod when we last found the bugs the last time. They said they could come back and spray anything that still had an issue. I think we are probably going to need to do the pod again but keeping fingers crossed I'm wrong. sad

LatteLady Thu 03-Jan-13 22:45:34

I am glad you are talking to his GP, as your GF should be viewed as a vulnerable adult at risk and the GP should be able to make sure that you are directed to the appropriate care pathway. If this does not happen, jump up and down and contact the PCT/CCG to take this further... pm me if you need help to do this.

I am so sorry for your loss... and can only admire you in taking this on at what must be a really rotten time for you.

Kundry Fri 04-Jan-13 00:13:42

Hi, didn't want to read and run. Firstly taking Grandad to the GP is an excellent idea - you need to check he is OK, say the District Nurses aren't coming and ask about care.

What exactly were the District Nurses doing for him when they used to come? Because personal care such as washing and dressing isn't part of their job. I can see that they might have started out, then suggested a care package and been turned down or your aunt and Grandad said they could manage. Although them just not coming because of staff shortages is crap, from what you say he needs carers rather than district nurses. So you need to have an assessment from Older People's Services at Social Services.

I personally would also ask Social Services to assess him as a Vulnerable Adult - your GP may suggest this anyway but you should ask him/her for it if not or you can do it yourself. Your aunt is actually abusing your grandad but most abused adults want to carry on living in the same place with the same people, just to be treated better (and don't acknowledge they are being abused) - your grandad sounds just like this. If you mention the Vulnerable Adult issue he will be a top priority for them: I would mention the unacceptable living conditions, aunt cancelling cleaner to extent home is infested, having POA but spending his money on herself, feeding him food that should not be used, no care support, aunt's obstructiveness but Grandad not wanting to upset her.

Finally I don't think your aunt is capable of acting in his best interests as power of attorney. I would see a solicitor to see how she can be removed as a matter of urgency.

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