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AIBU to call SS about my neighbour against their will?

(159 Posts)
SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 13:42:17

Sorry, I am a bit shaken up right now.

DH and I were just on our way to pick our twins up from nursery and I saw a woman standing on the pavement outside an elderly neighbours house. He’s a sweet guy who always waves and says hello (but I’m so caught up in my own shit that I’ve never properly spoken to him which I now feel awful about).

Next thing I know, I see she’s picking him up off the floor - he had fallen and was hidden behind his car so I didn’t see him. I rushed over and his hands are covered in blood so I dashed home and grabbed a first aid kit while she got him indoors.

His house is in a terrible state. It obviously hasn’t been cleaned for many, many years. It smells strongly of ammonia. And there’s stuff everywhere. The neighbour who helped him said she wanted to call an ambulance but he refused.

He sat down in his armchair and pointed out the photo of his wife and said she died two years ago. Her stuff is still all over the lounge including clothes on an airer. He said he sleeps in the chair so he’s next to her photo and urn. It was absolutely heartbreaking.

He told me he’s 90. I asked if he has anyone who comes in to help him. He said no, “me and the cat like being by ourselves”. He said his daughter comes and stays every Saturday and leaves on Sunday but I don’t believe him. There were Mother’s Day cards on the shelf. If his daughter is visiting every weekend then she’s obviously not even able to clean the house at all - no judgement, I don’t know the situation at all, but it’s really not a suitable environment for anyone, let alone a frail old man.

I cleaned him up and he had a few skinned patches on his hands but nothing serious. He told me nothing else hurt but was very much of the “I don’t want to be a bother” school - although he was very grateful for the help, and very talkative, I heard all about how he was in the army, all about his wife.

The other neighbour was saying I always invite you for coffee but you never come - he said he can’t leave his cat. He does go out though, he even drives.

I can’t in good conscience ignore what I’ve just seen, but he says he doesn’t want any help. But is he just saying that? DH says I should try and contact his daughter rather than rushing in and calling SS as it’s their responsibility but how would I even do that?

His clothes were filthy and now covered in blood. I don’t know what to do.

I wrote down my name, DH’s name, our house number and my mobile number but i very much doubt he will come to us for help. I wrote it on an envelope next to his chair.

If he falls in there and can’t get up nobody would know until his daughter comes (if indeed that’s even true).

AIBU to call SS right now? He would know it’s me I’m sure, but I don’t know if he really doesn’t want help or is just saying that.

SplintersOnTheFence Thu 19-Sep-19 13:45:57

You can raise concerns, but if he has capacity, and chooses to live like that, then there is nothing the can do.

SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 13:49:24

From speaking to him I don’t think he’s choosing to live like anything, I just don’t think he has any choice.

I don’t want to take his agency away, absolutely not. But has anyone assessed him and considered the risk and he’s refused help, or is he just under the radar?

I don’t know what to do for the best but I have to try. I feel absolutely awful that he’s been alone in there - I see carers and nurses coming all the time and believed it was for him, but apparently it’s for next door but one (who I’ve never even seen, I don’t think she can leave the house).

bellabasset Thu 19-Sep-19 13:49:31

I think I'd phone the local dr's to locate his surgery and report your concern. They should be monitoring a man of that age.

If he's driving then he possibly visits the surgery so they might be unaware of his living conditions.

Windydaysuponus Thu 19-Sep-19 13:50:21

Your local council have a vulnerable adults section. Ask them for advice. They may call around and see him /you..

Powerof4 Thu 19-Sep-19 13:53:55

What a lovely, caring person you are. It sounds like he needs some help that you can't give. Ss will have worked with vulnerable people who have pride and hopefully work hard to maintain their dignity. Could you share your worries about his feelings when you call them?

SplintersOnTheFence Thu 19-Sep-19 13:59:54

I think it probably is choice. Or not wanting to spend the money. Or having to downsize to afford it.

However, under the Mental Capacity Act he has the ability to assess consequences, and people have the right to make poor or bad decisions, provided they have the information.

Yes, do call SS, but if he doesnt want help, it cannot be forced upon him

SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 14:00:02

On the one hand calling the SS helpdesk (as advised on the local council website) seems like the logical thing to do but DH is saying what if there’s some unintended negative consequence for him, and that’s awful too. Like he obviously loves his cat to bits but is he able to care for them? I don’t know. I’d happily go over and feed the cat and clean if he let me but am I then just enabling an untenable situation?

I think I need to speak to the other neighbour first as she seems to know more about him - maybe she knows more.

I did ask if I could pop over and check on him later, he said yes but he would probably be asleep so I don’t want to disturb him. It’s really upsetting, but it’s not about me - all I know is that he’s at risk if he’s spending (at least) 5 day stretches with no one coming into the house.

FanSpamTastic Thu 19-Sep-19 14:06:17

How about calling Age UK for some advice?

They might be able to tell you how to proceed here?

ElizaDee Thu 19-Sep-19 14:07:07

I'd speak to the other neighbor and see what you can do to clean up, within reason, between you. And if one of you could pop in each day. Then I'd look in to that charity that matches up older people with younger ones who pop in with a paper etc, as he sounds lonely. I'll see if I can find a link to it.

SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 14:07:17

That’s a good idea, thank you

ElizaDee Thu 19-Sep-19 14:09:36

There loads, Age UK and loads more.

ElizaDee Thu 19-Sep-19 14:10:19


Just google befriending services.

Redglitter Thu 19-Sep-19 14:10:42

He might not want help but it sounds like he definitely needs it. I would definitely report it. If nothing else hes then on their radar and you know you've done your best

SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 14:10:57

I would love to help him a lot, but I have disabled twin toddlers and health issues myself and barely keeping my head above water as it is. I have no problem going over there when DH is home and cleaning his house top to bottom if it would help him - my fear is, is that just masking the problem? I don’t know enough about his medical / social situation - it’s possible with a deep clean and a carer popping in occasionally he’d be fine but I don’t know if that’s even been assessed.

I did think about his GP surgery but I don’t know his surname and there are about six practices who take people from this postcode.

SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 14:13:41

That was my thought Redglitter but DH has me worried about making things worse for him. I’ll speak to the other neighbour and go from there.

I’m not worried about a befriending service because I fully intend to go and see him often now. Maybe I can convince him to let me wash some of his clothes, especially the ones now covered in blood!

Yadid Thu 19-Sep-19 14:15:13

Poor old man. I dread growing old.

I wonder does he manage to cook for himself?

Maybe if you had time to pop in every second day, just to wash dishes, maybe clean counter tops or whatever, it might be a help. Then you can get a better idea of how well he's coping alone? Then you could make a decision on what to do maybe.

Moondancer73 Thu 19-Sep-19 14:15:22

I'd start with age U.K.
I've found them very helpful in the past and will certainly be able to point you in the right direction. I have to say that I probably would ideal to SS as well because if the old chap had an accident and I hadn't done anything when I could have I'd feel dreadful.

tryingoutgreyhair Thu 19-Sep-19 14:16:35

I would either a) pop round again and say can I have your daughter's number to let her know you had a fall so she can check on you or b) phone the SS helpdesk and ask them if they do welfare checks on vulnerable adults. What if the fall was because he is unwell (eg infection or something) and he has another in the house?

laura2107 Thu 19-Sep-19 14:19:29

Not sure where u live but have u got a local social care direct number to call? I work with the elderly and these people are usually the first port of call and can see if the man may need a carer or even any aids in the home to help him x

SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 14:19:48

Exactly. I think it’s very likely he will die in there and nobody will know. Nobody deserves that. He was telling me about how he held his wife’s hand while she died and I just thought, who will be there for him? Maybe his daughter - I can’t tell if he was making that up or maybe he thinks she comes every week but it’s been ages? I’d honestly be surprised if his house was cleaned in the last five years so I’m guessing maybe his wife was in a bad way too but maybe she died a lot longer ago.

He’s such a lovely guy, Scottish, funny... 90 years old and still trying to get around. If I felt like he was choosing it then I’d have to respect it but now I think about how grateful he was to have the help today and I think maybe he just doesn’t want to make a fuss.

jennymanara Thu 19-Sep-19 14:20:53

You can speak to vulnerable adults section at your local council. But don't be surprised if he is in reality choosing to live like this. I speak from experience here. Older relative living in cluttered and dirty house. He refused to clean and refused to have a cleaner in although he had plenty of money to pay for it. Family cleaned his house for a while until they got frustrated at how much time they were spending and how he refused anything that would solve the issue.

SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 14:22:36

What if the fall was because he is unwell (eg infection or something) and he has another in the house?

That was my worry too - or if he has an internal injury, broken bone etc. He was breathing really fast and I asked if he normally has breathing trouble and he says no. It settled down before I left.

Will head over the road later today when DH is home and try to see both and take it from there

FinallyHere Thu 19-Sep-19 14:24:09

I applaud your instinct to help but must encourage you to consider what experience you have of elderly people? How about heading over to the elderly parents board and get some idea of what might be happening here.

Dealing with the elderly has a lot in common with dealing with toddlers and a lot that is very, very different.

It's heartbreaking but very, very complicated.

You sound as if your heart is in the 'right place' all the very best.

SinkGirl Thu 19-Sep-19 14:24:30

I totally get that jenny - if I knew he had been assessed and refused help then obviously I would think that’s his choice. I just want to make sure that’s happened. But maybe I’m just sticking my nose in and it’s not my call?

My mum is already gone but I would be heartbroken to think of her alone, living in squalor, neighbours knowing all doing nothing.

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