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to wonder how to handle this neighbour?

(18 Posts)
knitpicker Thu 04-Oct-12 12:54:31

There is an elderly lady living across the street from us. It's become obvious in the last six months or so that she is in the throes of some sort of dementia/ senility. She has no children but there are three nephews who used to visit regularly but now they come sporadically at best - to my knowledge as I am in work all day. To DH and myself (and other neighbours we have discussed it with) it has become obvious that she is no longer capable for caring for herself. She stands out on the street yelling abuse at no one in particular, she goes from door-to-door knocking and ringing bells - sometimes she just wants to chat, sometimes she need help with her bills, sometimes she has cakes for the children. In the last two weeks she has approached DH very upset saying that all her money has been stolen, she has a special hiding place in her house apparently. One week she said she was missing £300, yesterday she said she was missing £400 - DH has advised her to go to the police and lent her money to tide her over as she said she had no money for food.
Thing is we suspect it might be one of her nephews stealing her money, DH asked her to think carefully who had access to the house - she mentioned one nephew, lets call him Tom - his name crops up all the time. Her version of events is so unreliable though - one time she said Tom calls every day, another time she said she hadn't seen him for months etc etc. Tom won't give her his phone number - think he changed it as she used to call him at all hours.
It's not our place to get involved but we can't sit back and do nothing. BTW other neighbours think it's just as likely she has forgotten where she put the money or hasn't collected her pension at all. What is the appropriate level of intervention from concerned neighbours? We have tried to track down nephew to talk about our concerns - not possible at the address the lady gave us. Is it our place to talk to police/ social services? There are other incidents pointing to how much her mind has deteriorated lately but this is already long enough! Would appreciate any advice.

hobnobsaremyfave Thu 04-Oct-12 12:56:27

Have a look on your council website and see if they have a POVA team (protection of vulnerable adults), give them a ring and ask for advice.

mrsminerva Thu 04-Oct-12 12:57:28

It is your place to talk to social services and the police IMO. She needs help. You and your husband sound like really nice people.

KenLeeeeeee Thu 04-Oct-12 12:57:29

That's really sad :-( Can social services help with older people in situations like this? Does she have any other family that you know of?

quoteunquote Thu 04-Oct-12 12:58:33

Let social service know of your concern, they will come and assess her, and then they can put in some support,

could you leave a letter at her house for her nephew to contact you, and then ask him for his number, so that you can alert him, when she may need support.

Pancakeflipper Thu 04-Oct-12 12:58:57

Find out what Dr's she is with and phone them and tell them you are worried. They can also help get the various agencies on board.

catwomanlikesmeatballs Thu 04-Oct-12 13:00:24

Call social services, they'll help her.

MammaTJisWearingGold Thu 04-Oct-12 13:01:45

Of course it is your place to get involved. How would you feel if she was found dead in her home and you hadn't?

You need to contact SS with your concerns. I look after people with dementia and sometimes they come to us in such a bad way because they have been left to fend for themselves for too long.

She probably hasn't had any money stolen at all, tbh. Paranoia is a frequent symptom of dementia. She clearly needs help though.

Narked Thu 04-Oct-12 13:02:28

'It's not our place to get involved'

Yes. It is your place. If you see someone who's not coping over a period of months and is obviously distressed, and you are concerned that their family may not be helping the situation.

knitpicker Thu 04-Oct-12 13:02:46

All good suggestions, thank you very much! Will check council website now - we're not in UK but might be an equivalent. Her sister died two years ago - last remaining sibling. Poor lady can't even read or write which is why she needs help with bills etc. Other neighbours are much more helpful than us, walking her nightmare dog everyday and stuff like that - she has latched onto husband more lately - she doesn't recognise me at all any more.

missymoomoomee Thu 04-Oct-12 13:03:11

I agree with those saying call social sevices, they are going to be better placed for getting in touch with family and offering the right kind of support for her.

You sound like really lovely neighbours, its really nice of you to care so much for a lady who doesn't have a lot of people looking out for her.

featherbag Thu 04-Oct-12 13:05:34

Why wouldn't it be your place to get involved?! You're her neighbours, possibly one of the people she has most interaction with! Give social services a call, tell them you're worried for her and give them as much information as possible. Then - and this is vital - give them all of the information again in writing.

charlottehere Thu 04-Oct-12 13:12:32

I feel really sad that you or your neighbours have done very little to help her. sad Do you really need to ask what to do? Ring SS immediatley, poor lady. sad

MostlyFine Thu 04-Oct-12 13:27:20

Social Work - definitely phone social work. This lady is a vulnerable adult and should have an assessment done and that falls under social work's remit. Mention the money and bills situation and they should also investigate whether she is being the victim of financial abuse or whether, as you say, she has just forgotten where things are.

It sounds like she is very lucky to have you and your neighbours smile

alienreflux Thu 04-Oct-12 13:32:30

charlottehere did you read her posts? i think her and her neighbours have gone above and beyond for this poor lady, she just needs to know the next step.

Lottapianos Thu 04-Oct-12 13:33:30

OP, you're getting a bit of pasting from some people here which I think is really unfair. It sounds like you and your DH have been very kind to her so far and you're on here asking advice about what more you can do. You sound very caring and thoughtful so I hope you're not feeling bad about this.

I would ring social services - it sounds like this poor lady needs help and whether or not her nephews are stealing from her, she's not coping very well on her own. She can't access this on her own so she needs your help smile

notanaxemurderer Thu 04-Oct-12 13:48:54

I second the suggestions above and also suggest you contact Age UK if you don't get any answers.

ruddynorah Thu 04-Oct-12 13:57:54

We had the same with my late grandma's next door neighbour. The neighbour kept harrassing my grandma saying she had stolen things and even moved the boundary fence. We rang the GP who visited her and referred her to social services.

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