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AIBU to call SS about this man?

(19 Posts)
bigredtractor Fri 30-Jan-15 20:17:17

- and if I did, can anyone explain what might happen?

My ILs are on holiday for 4 months so DH went to check their house etc. and pinch some of their logs for our fire wink.

Their neighbour is a single elderly man without any family. Life time bachelor, no relatives nearby. My ILs keep half an eye out for him when they are home.

I asked DH to call in on him and boxed up a portion of dinner for him as well as I know he doesn't really cook for himself. DH has just returned (ILs is an hours drive) and said that the neighbour was extremely grateful for the dinner, but DH is worried he's not coping well in the cold (we're rural Scotland) as he had a coat, hat & scarf on in his house.

I'm very worried he's not really able to look after himself and I'm considering calling SS. Would that be unreasonable? Are they even the right people? The neighbour has had health problems recently and was in & out of hospital so I'm even more worried, knowing that he's not particularly fit & well ordinarily.

I'm v fond of him - we've had him for Christmas when ILs were away one year, but we're too far away to do much for him regularly. Could SS help, do you think? I'd rather call someone and find that he's coping than do nothing and regret it...

MrsTawdry Fri 30-Jan-15 20:21:20

I think YABU to do that without sharing your concerns with your ILs first.

I wear a hat and scarf in the house...granted I'm not eldrerly but my mum does too...we're too mean to pay for heating and always have been....not that I live with Mum!

If his home is dirty or dangerous then you may have a point but otherwise I would not.

bigredtractor Fri 30-Jan-15 20:24:31

I see your point but they srent back till April. And we pop in regularly whenever we're there, so we're familiar, know about him, hear what hes up to etc. Its not like we've taken this visit today in isolation, iYSWIM

wheresthelight Fri 30-Jan-15 20:24:54

rather than social services could you contact age concern instead and see what they suggest?

Verbena37 Fri 30-Jan-15 20:27:18

Are there any other people nearby who you could ask to pop in to check him and maybe give him a hot dinner? Although if ILs are away for four months, that's a long time for the community to support him when he has nobody else to help care for him.
If the answer is no, then for his own safety, perhaps a call to SS might help. I honestly don't know but if his safety and health is in danger when completely on his own, then I think I would feel awful ignoring it.

Could you have him stay with you? That might not be doable but it's an option if he agreed. I guess if you simply ask him, he will resist outside support. You could call SS and ask their advice without giving your name etc. see what they suggest. I know that the elderly can go into respite residential care in England to give family carers a break for a few days or a couple of weeks but not sure what happens for four months.

Sidge Fri 30-Jan-15 20:32:23

I'd go in and see him first.

He might be quite happy and coping fine, but you could ask him if he thinks he may benefit from any extra support.

A surprise call from Adult Services may be unwelcome and if he's not expecting it then he may be resistant to any suggestion of intervention. Lots of elderly people are very proud and fear "being put in a home". IMO it's best to pop round for a cuppa with cake and start a conversation.

Whatamuddleduck Fri 30-Jan-15 20:35:39

It likely would result in a call or visit from ss to speak with him about how he's doing. If the house is cold and he's not coping or is at risk they would talk to him about support. If possible it's best speaking to him first to see how he thinks things are and what he would like to do. If you won't be able to speak to him and it's really cold Just ring ss and tell them. I've been and got people coal, oil radiators and all sorts when it's freezing before (English social worker) as its part of the local cold weather plan.

bigredtractor Fri 30-Jan-15 20:36:50

Id love to take him but its just not realistic - we're an hour away, no spare bedrooms etc. Also he's not the type to invite you inside - he'll chat on the doorstep.

we might call him and see if he'll let us set up a mini Internet shop for him, a couple of tins if soup etc.

I'm concerned that SS may be a shock / unwarranted etv. Age Concern is a good suggestion, thanks.

Verbena37 Fri 30-Jan-15 22:11:07

Please don't forget though that some elderly people are very stubborn and whilst he may say he's ok, he might not be warm enough or be cooking proper food for himself (as you mention). Elderly people die every year in the UK from not keeping themselves warm. As you say, you're in the Scottish will be freezing and if he isn't cooking and heating, and also being newly out of hospital and unwell, I wouldn't risk not mentioning it as whatamuddleduck said.

Merguez Fri 30-Jan-15 22:17:58

Better to err on the side of caution, surely?

What if you did not do anything, and something awful happened?

You sound like lovely caring people, and I would go with your instincts.

cozietoesie Fri 30-Jan-15 22:19:05

Failing family support, in the Highlands it's often neighbours or the local Church who keep an initial eye out for the vulnerable. (He may not be a churchman but they would still help out.) Do you have any contacts locally? One phone call would likely be all that was required to get things moving informally.

bigredtractor Fri 30-Jan-15 22:26:59

Thank you - we're not quite as far north as the Highlands but he's in a v rural spot (he's a former shepherd!).

That's our concern Verbena37 - he's a very stoical chap and wouldn't like to give anyone the impression that he cant take care of himself. But deep down I'm worried that he's freezing, or living off toast, or falls over and nobody knows. sad

cozietoesie Fri 30-Jan-15 22:33:26

Deep country is deep country. I'd see if you can make a phone call to someone local. The wheels of officialdom can grind very slowly at this time of the week and in bad weather but raising a concern to the local community could have people round there - discreetly - within the hour; and logs and soup etc turning up first thing in the morning. Community members would also be in a position to report to SS if there were more significant concerns and would likely be more acceptable to him as well.

Well done for looking out for him.

MrsTawdry Fri 30-Jan-15 22:42:05

Would he accept use of a mobile phone from you OP? I'm worried about him now too! At least he has there no way of people having home visits from carers etc in the Highlands? My Mum is a carer and has a few clients who are "fine" but who she visits just for a chat and a cup of tea.

She doesn't need to give them their medication or anything....she's just a friendly face.

RandomNPC Fri 30-Jan-15 23:57:37

I'm not entirely sure, but I think he'd need to consent to the referral. I'd have a chat with him first, see what he wants.

a2011x Sun 01-Feb-15 09:21:21

Why don't you use this time to get to know him? Maybe take a dinner and try and get in and have a chat. You might see things are not as you presume, or you might see that he does need some help and go from there.

UncleT Sun 01-Feb-15 16:25:33

Please speak to him. He's an adult - you should not do anything without speaking to him, unless you honestly think he's in acute danger.

SuburbanRhonda Sun 01-Feb-15 16:40:00

Does he have neighbours on the other side, do you know? Could they help?

WannaBe Sun 01-Feb-15 16:47:03

he's still an adult. please don't patronise him by making a referral to ss purely on the basis you saw him wearing a coat and scarf in his own house. If he's in danger, is not of sound mind etc then I agree a referral would be appropriate, but if he is simply elderly then that doesn't necessarily mean he needs help, and to assume that he does without a conversation with him is incredibly patronising.

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