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Talk to me about sectioning please

(9 Posts)
Dancergirl Mon 25-Jan-16 18:59:10

I am very frustrated with Social Services and the GP. Brief back story - my mum lives alone about half an hour away from me. Our relationship has pretty much broken down but as I am her only relative in this country I am responsible for her care. She is 83.

She has a terrible personal hygiene issue, has been noticed by lots of people and has got worse over the last year or two. Her house is pretty much uninhabitable. She won't let me (or anyone else) in but from the neighbours house, mould can be seen inside her windows. Front and back gardens are completely overgrown, there is moss and ivy growing on the windows and on her old car kept in the driveway. She won't let anyone in or accept any help. She has a hoarding issue. I could go on. The postman was concerned recently as he couldn't get the mail in the letter box and there was a terrible smell coming from the house itself.

Social services and mental health have been involved on and off for the past decade but keep signing her off as she appears to be of sound mind and is refusing help.

Last week I phoned the police 101 number and requested a welfare check as no-one had seen her for some time. They went round and spoke to her through the letterbox but wouldn't open the door. They said they didn't have authority to gain access against her will.

I spoke to her GP today, they said they will speak to her this week and decide if further steps need to be taken.

I am so frustrated with the system. It seems that old people are allowed to live like this in squalid conditions with many many risks to them.

So my questions - how and why do people get sectioned? Suppose they are NOT of sound mind but refuse to co-operate with medical professionals? How can their mental health be assessed? I imagine she will say to the GP (as she said to the police) that she is 'fine' But she's not. If she had an accident, no-one would know.

Any advice please?

mincepieprivateeye Mon 25-Jan-16 22:35:19

Keep on to social services and ask the GP to visit your mum ASAP. Community mental healt can be hit and miss but get in to them again. CMH called my step mum regarding my dads state of mind rather than going out to visit him, this was despite me calling his social worker, that my step mum has Alzheimer's and that his GP had phoned both social services and cmh several times. My dad was sectioned due to being violent he has Alzheimer's . Could you try to photo/video your mums house to show how bad it is? Possibly try to photograph mum if she is as disheveled to show how bad things are?

whataboutbob Tue 26-Jan-16 21:08:25

This is a very difficult issue. There are several ways this could go.
If your mum is simply a hoarder, but not physically ill and at no immediate danger to herself or the neighbours there may be little social services can do.
If she is actually ill, or maybe is developing dementia, that could change things and enable services to get invovled.Sectioning is a tightly controlled process, you need 2 professionals to agree together that someone is not of sound mind and can be detained against their will and in their best interests. It is not done lightly, but if the person is not of sound mind then they could be forcibly removed from their home.Persons sectioning are usually psychiatrists, some social workers can too.
When did you last properly see your mum? Who last went in there apart from your mum?Do you get the sense she has declined a lot since? If you can get in and take photos that would be very useful evidence to pass on to SS and GP.
i am not sure whether SS can force their way in, but a good start would be to ring SS and refer your mum (people can self refer/ refer relatives in most areas now). Stress the words "vulnerable adult" "environmental risk eg fire risk, rodent infestation" etc. Also make an appointment with her GP, go there yourself, say you know the GP can;t disclose stuff to you without your mum's consent, but you think she/ he should know the situation. If you have those photos on your phone so much the better.

CocktailQueen Tue 26-Jan-16 21:10:50

She won't let YOU in??? That's extreme.

My MIL had some of the same - lack of hygiene, no cleaning etc - but she did let people in. She needs to be assessed as a matter of urgency, I'd say.

Do you have a key? Why did your relationship break down?

Dancergirl Tue 26-Jan-16 22:47:57

cocktail she hasn't let me in the house since I left there 18 years ago. I think she's just really embarrassed about the state of the house. The relationship has been up and down for years, when dh and I started a family she was either nice grandma, coming round seeing her grandchildren, being involved....or she would have periods of sulking which went on for months, not answering the phone and ignoring everyone. Long rants about how hard it is for her, how terrible I am, what a selfish daughter I am, no-one is interested in her etc. You get the picture.

She took my key away when I left home.

I did speak to Social Services again today. They told me that people can choose to live like this and if of sound mind are entitled to do so.

CocktailQueen Tue 26-Jan-16 22:51:50

Sounds very, very frustrating for you.

Dancergirl Tue 26-Jan-16 22:54:25

I spoke to a lovely lady who supports carers today, went over everything. She told me that I have really done all I can do and suggest taking a step back.

whataboutbob Wed 27-Jan-16 09:29:09

How frustrating, and I'm having trouble accepting that nothing can be done. The fact is she may be ill or suffering from dementia in there.
Does she get out and about? Where is she getting food from? Some people must have seen her lately and be able to give an opinion on how she is.
I'm sorry you're in this predicament.

CocktailQueen Wed 27-Jan-16 10:26:34

How about contacting Age UK and seeing what they advise? They are v helpful.

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