To expect SS to step up?(16 Posts)
I currently have a woman with learning difficulties living with my family. Her mother died a year ago and the council desperately wanted to take back the 3 bed home she was living in so gave her a 1bed flat in a totally different area to where she's lived her whole life.
The flat has no carpets, decorating, appliances. She is absolutely terrified at the thought of living alone, never mind the strange area, lack of assistance. I've had her for 12 weeks now with no signs of help despite constant calls to council and ss.
The situation is severely affecting my relationship (no time alone) and my finances (feeding, bathing, providing for 8 instead of 7)
Ive,literally, begged for help with no reaction. If I kick her out she'll definitely commit suicide. If I don't I may lose my partner. My children adore her, she's absolutely harmless and deserves better than sleeping on my sons bedroom floor but I'm sooooo stuck...
So finances.....she can contribute from her benefits
The flat.....you can help her make it habitable? Where’s the furniture gone from her mothers 3 bed house?
Contact a few charities for adults.... try and find help that way too?
Have you got a local Mencap office? They're brill in my experience
How on earth did she end up living with you? Is she a relative?
If you think she's at risk of suicide if she moves out you can still make her leave, inform the crisis team she's suicidal and insist on ambulance coming out to assess her. They're capable of assessing risk far more than you are (no offence) and can relocate her to a hospital if they believe she's in danger. Whatever she has said, your are in no way responsible for her mental health and safety, and you have already been decent enough housing her. You don't have to keep housing her or she'll die. That's taking on way too much responsibility that frankly you don't have for her.
Does she still have the flat? If so it sounds like she needs support kitting it out to make it habitable. Your local MIND could help. I used to work for them in housing and they offered a lot of support to people with mental health issues or LDs including helping them obtain grants, a visit from a support worker, help furnishing the place and in managing bills.
You have to start thinking of yourself and your family. Sad to say but the more involved you are with her the less likely SS are to see her as a priority, after all she's currently being looked after well in a warm safe environment. She won't get help to improve things while you're doing it, they're so stretched. That's the harsh reality. You're trying to be kind but probably not doing her many favours in the long run.
You can also ring Samaritans on 116123 and give them her mobile number to ring her if you think she's at risk of self harm or suicide. Beyond that and involving health services/crisis team you've done all you can. Even if in worst case scenario you help her move out and she attempts something it's not your fault. If someone wants to do that, they'll find a way. Involve the health services and then it's completely out of your hands. Leave it to the professionals.
Threaten to sue? Go to the daily mail? Actually talk to them in person? Talk to your local MP?
How did she end up living with you in the first place?
She will be low on the list as she will be seen to be in a place of safety at the moment from a social services point of view.
She has somewhere else to move, make it as habitable as possible as you can for her, ring social services and say as from x date y person will be living in a flat on their own, they are vulnerable and will require a package of care.
I'm surprised housing haven't involved social services considering how vulnerable you seem to think she is.
You could try phoning SS with an adult protection concern - in my area the duty social worker must respond within 24hrs but my experience is the more families/neighbours/friends plug gaps in services the more social work will continue to ignore you.
Adult safeguarding will take no notice of this issue. It is not their remit.
Any safeguarding concern will be closed and they will make a referral back to the appropriate community services waiting list which the woman is probably already on.
I've been here.
Subsequent attempt and sectioning. I then refused to allow home for discharge. It took NINE MONTHS inpatient with going between teams. Finally she was discharged into supported accommodation. The reason it took so long was the Sen teams and mental health each saying they couldn't provide and a social worker who was he'll bent on me having her. It was hell. I was made out to be evil.
I did it for her though. Years of my floor and an add on to my life was never going to break the cycle and could only really run her down.
Moving out finally with support she needed was the beginning of a real life, finally a boyfriend and the start of building skills to her own flat. With a tag on to a large family she could t really start her own life, build real independence or move on. Believe me I tried for years, years of my kids having a pretty hard time at points
Do you think that, with support, she is capable of living independently? If so, then that needs to be your end goal.
The flat could be done up maybe, to make it seem more like a home. And there may be charities that could provide support whilst she gets used to living alone, or there may be local groups she could join so that she doesn't feel isolated and to help her meet people.
Does she like animals and could she care for one? If so, a pet can definitely help with living alone.
What sort of help would you like SS to provide btw?
Speak with Mencap. I'm certain they will have the best advice.
In the long run you are not helping her situation as SS will continue to rely on your help instead of sorting out a long term solution for her.
Don't feel guilty about making it clear that your situation cannot continue, it is not fair to any of you.
My cousin provides emergency adult "foster" placements for people with LD who come and live with her until more suitable placements can be found, so I know that such services do exist in some areas.
Good luck OP.
Trying to respond to all questions. I've raised a safeguarding issue with ss several times. The flat is not in assisted living, I firmly believe that's what she needs. I don't believe she is capable of living alone. Her mothers house was in a disgusting state by the time she moved out. She has no idea about cleaning or hygiene. All the appliances etc were inbuilt into her mams house so she left with nothing like that.
The council sent someone out to help her pack, they packed EVERYTHING, including photos and memories of her dead parents and stuck them outside in the rain. The removal company the council provided dumped her sofa in the kitchen and I see no physical way of getting it into her sitting room from there.
I've looked into getting a decorator in as everything is severly nicotine stained and needs to be treated. Her solicitor is stalling on releasing money for this (he controls her mams estate)
She has a mental age of 10, has imaginary friends and struggles to know the difference between reality and made up stories. Because of this, I have repeatedly asked the housing officer to speak to me so I know what's actually going on but have heard nothing
But it isn't a safeguarding issue which is why you aren't getting anywhere with social services.
Ring your local authority on Monday and ask to speak to the duty social worker for the learning disability team in your area. If they won't put you through ask to make a request for an assessment under the Care Act for the woman and for yourself as her carer. State it is urgent and also the caring relationship is at imminent risk of breaking down.
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