to be desperate for help for lonely old neighbour?(45 Posts)
Not really an AIBU but I really don't know what to do. Neighbour (I'll call him Bill) is 92. His wife died 3 months ago and he is seriously depressed and terribly terribly lonely . There are no children, no family at all except some distant extended family of his wife's who live a couple of hours away. They make an effort to visit every few weeks but have their own health issues.
He made a serious attempt on his own life about 6 weeks ago and only survived unharmed by total fluke. He's totally 'with it' mentally and physically is coping perfectly well. I pop in every day or two and he is good company and very grateful but repeatedly tells me how lonely he is. Today he told me he would have made another attempt on his life unless I'd popped in, . I don't mind going round at all but I'm not enough and work full time. I cant be there all the time.
So what on earth can be done for Bill? So far there has been
- Age UK offered a volunteer visitor (but apparently nobody suitable on their books yet)
- Day Centres etc (Bill refused point blank. He's very deaf and hates clubs or groups.)
- Social services (assessed him, he's 'coping well' and they cant do any more )
- GP (has referred him to some kind of mental health team but that doesn't seem to be regular or ongoing and he told me he's now been signed off)
- a week respite in a care home (Bill packed up early and went home and said he was lonelier there than at home because they were all gaga there )
I just feel so worried and sad for Bill. What on earth is there for someone like him?
The Silverline charity will help with advice and a befriender.
Makes me sad and frustrated when I hear this as I have spare time, lovely dc and not a gps /dp between us.
A lonely older person is just what our family needs. .
Have you got a U3A in your area? Stimulating conversation and a chance to meet new people may cheer him up a bit
to you for being such a caring neighbour
If you know the GP practice, I would phone them and ask to speak to a Dr. They won't tell you anything, but they would listen to your concerns.
You don't need the person's permission to do this, although it would be preferable. And the Dr you talk to would probably want to say to you that they'd want "Bill" to know you'd spoken to them.
They'd add your worries to his notes.
Red Cross and the local church and Salvation Army are all places that we are sometimes able to get volunteers from. Silver line is also a good recommendation but I've heard that sometimes it can be difficult to get through. If he is deaf he may also struggle with the phone.
Is there any kind of 'men in sheds' type project or lunch club type thing he could access, a bit less formal and busy than a day centre.
I agree a residential care home is the last place he should be by the sounds of things, but it's a shame he has been signed off by both social services and the MH team although I can understand why that has happened if he is not accepting any services.
I suspect he will probably be successful in taking his own life eventually which is extremely sad, it's really much more common than people are aware of in this sort of situation.
Thank God that you are being a source of company for him but of course he needs more help. It could be an idea to call up a few churches in the area and see if they have volunteers who visit elderly folk in the area. Not all do but some definitely do.
Could you contact a local church? They have volunteers who visit elderly people...?
My neighbour is exactly the same but a lady. She has told me how she dreads going to sleep because she doesn't want to wake up in the morning. Like you I try to pop in and chat but I just can't be there all the time. She's suggested to me that she might try and start a friendship club at her house. Is there anything like this that you could perhaps try and help him set up? Can he get out at all? My neighbour is 85 but goes volunteering and to various clubs in our town. Or perhaps you could try and teach him to use the internet and find some online buddies for him to chat too. Get him on mumsnet!
Where is Bill? If one of the bigger cities, it's worth checking if it's currently served by GoodGym (look at goodgym.org). He could be a 'coach' for one of their runners, i.e. he would be their reason to run once a week and they could have regular chats.
I think the local church would be a good getting him someone to talk to. They have people in the local community who will be able to provide support faster than some of the other support agencies. Also google deaf befrienders as there may be a group in your local area. I think also a call to his GP telling them that he wants to make another attempt on his life might be a way of getting him back under the support of the mental health team. What about other neighbours, can others also help? Poor Bill
How very sad.
It sounds to me as if he doesn't particularly want new friends though. He wants his wife, his siblings, and his friends back. I may be wrong.
You sound like a superb neighbour.
Is Bill ex-forces at all? At 92 he might be. If so, are lots of local support groups - try the British Legion OP.
Oh how sad for Bill. Please call The Royal British Legion if he served, as they are v helpful at finding local services / arranging befriending visits from local branch members/ free holidays to their hotels.
Contact The Elderly - Sunday afternoon tea parties run by volunteers, Bill would be collected taken home.
Maundy Relief (if you live in East Lancashire) - lunch clubs and befriending.
You are a very kind neighbour
My dad is 85. For the first two years after my mother died, he was numb with grief. He's much better now. He doesn't want to go out or have people in - but he never did. Bill just needs time.
You sound like a lovely, caring person.
Can you give him a project? Doing something in your garden or painting or something that would make him feel useful? My grandpa was like this after my Granny died and it is so sad...in my grandpas case there were people queuing up to spend time with him but he wasn't interested he just wanted granny back Things that helped him were going on long bike rides, gardening and DIY projects at home and for my mum etc. He was a very practical man and needed to feel useful rather than company iyswim? If Bill is in good enough health he may get more satisfaction from being a volunteer rather than getting one to help him...
How kind you are. OP
A relative of mine is very deaf and bed bound. Hearing aid ( thousands of pounds) was not working out for them - getting lost/ volume problems etc.
Somebody told me of a device called a Comfort Duette which amplifies sounds- it can be used with headphones or, more discreetly, with earphones.
It has made a huge difference, when visitors call my aunt is involved in the conversation.
It is extremely portable and discreet and your neighbour could socialise with it at a day centre.
You sound lovely OP.
We have 'adopted our next door neighbour. He is 89 and list his wife 6 months ago.
My DSC and DC see him as another GP and he tests them in the same way. His wife did too
They only have one DC themselves who lives in Australia and although they face time him it isn't the same.
I agree with pp about maybe contactuling the local church?
I agree that a local church would be a good idea. A lot of people of that age are nominally Church of England even if they don't go regularly. Maybe that should be the first port of call? He might be wary of other denominations, although the Salvation Army would be a safe bet too, or Methodist Church,
I'm a regular churchgoer and if we were told about someone in his situation there would definitely be someone happy to befriend him. Some churches have daytime groups for the elderly as well,
It's lovely that he has you looking out for him, OP.
Just seen all the typos in my post. Sorry
It might be worth phoning social services again, but for 'signposting' rather than an assessment. They should have a list of organisations etc and should be able to email something. Bill might also be eligible for some kind of housing related support, which may be accessed through the council or through another organisation (social services would be able to tell you). As he's had a major life change and needs to regain his confidence he should be eligible for that kind of short term support- a support worker would, like social services, know the organisations etc to get in touch with. In the last city I lived, the council provided this support, now I've moved it's a separate organisation, but as I said, social services will be able to tell you this.
When I worked for social services I actually visited some 'day centres' that weren't stereotypical at all...they were small groups of people doing things, in a place that everyone could access. There are a wide variety of things out there. In our local area there was also a men's pint and chat group! But as I said, housing related support people/social services might be a good source of advice regarding these as they might well have visited/had experience dealing with them, whereas you are having to go in with no knowledge of them at all, which is very difficult.
To be honest though I would treat his suicide talk seriously, and contact the MH team or his GP, as this is beyond the support that you can give. The fact that he's told you suggests that he wants help. Bill is so lucky to have you as a neighbour OP
Contact the Elderly organise monthly tea parties in people's homes. Would it be worth reporting your concerns to social services about his mental health? He really needs more support. I used to run a befriending service for older people and unfortunately the waiting lists are huge. Are there other services/charities in the area? The more waiting lists he's on the better. Is there a time bank in your area (try a volunteer services) - they may also do befriending. Where in the UK does he live?
OP you sound lovely, can I suggest two things. Please contact the Red Cross they have some great outreach programs just for this kind of situation. Such as the Land Rover project Also how about your neighbour volunteers at a local charity shop. I manage a group of volunteers of all ages including your neighbours and they have a wealth of knowledge. If your in the NW contact me and I'll give you some numbers.
Would he benefit from a carer visit daily or a few times a week? FIL is lonely despite having a lot of us around. He lives alone since mil went into a nursing home. He was resistant but after an illness agreed to a daily carer and now he loves the daily visit. They make him breakfast, do a bit of housework and, most of all, chat and check he's ok.
He pays for this and finding the right person isn't always easy ( we use Home Instead) but it's worked very well. This plus a local befriending service and a lovely neighbour might help him feel a little better. Our local hospice have a befriending service which includes people like Bill.
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