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But worried about elderly neighbours care via her daughter. What to do?

(33 Posts)
wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Mon 22-Apr-19 09:25:11

Hi all, not sure whether I’m hoping for advice or reassurance. Sorry for long story but really appreciate anything you have to say.
Next door neighbour is a bit odd and difficult to deal with. Not sure how old, between 65 and 75 but vulnerable in the sense she’s few social skills and some strange behaviours. When we moved in 4 years ago I tried to be kind but she’s genuinely impossible to deal with so I just keep out of the way now.
Anyway, she was on her own with a husband with advanced dementia for a year after we moved in. No visitors, ever. One day hubby fell down the back door steps and we picked him up and asked around if there were family members nearby. Turns out her daughter lives 100 metres away. We went round to tell DD mum and dad were in trouble and family started appearing to ‘help’ I say ‘help’ because there was much tooing and froing and a lot of loud conversations and council workers fixing the house up but then father fell down stairs and died. I couldn’t help but wonder why, with all the activity, and after he fell down the three back door steps, nobody had moved his bed downstairs.
Fast forward three years and I’ve become used to the sight of the daughter arriving three times a day for quick visits with food. She never goes inside the house. She stays for between 1 minute and 3 minutes. Sometimes friendly sometimes shouting. Her mum tries to talk to her and tell her things and occasionally there is a proper conversation but more usually she says she has to rush off. She brings a hot meal and a sandwich every day which the mother washes up.
How do I know all this? Every conversation takes place a few feet from my kitchen door and the elderly neighbours door is always open. Yesterday daughter was shouting at the mother not to do the garden because she is paying her son to do it.
Now, as I said, the neighbour is difficult to deal with so it’s understandable that the daughter might want to rush off but what I’ve realised is that mother is probably claiming direct payments and paying daughter for this care. Then daughter is paying son to do garden. The garden is nevertheless a mess. Now if I told you that ours is an ex council house and they are still council tenants you might think I’m a snob but I want to tell you this because I can see that this is a family that have always struggled financially and educationally. This is what worries me, because I know that desperate people do desperate things.

I think the mother is very vulnerable and the daughter is using her as a meal ticket. I think the standard of care she is receiving is practically zero. The mother goes out every day on the bus shopping and seems fit and able in many ways so I’m unclear why she needs the meals delivering. It seems to me that the house may be in a risky state for falls and fire but the daughter is not addressing that. There are unspecified disabilities, I don’t know what, but I do know that the house is piled high with clutter, mostly piles of washing (?) and there’s just a narrow path through the mess from front room to kitchen.

I’ve cared for my own mother through a psychosis and I know it can be difficult. I would not want to be this woman’s daughter. I would not want to have to care for her. However she is a human being and doesn’t deserve to be taken advantage of by unscrupulous and uncaring relatives. I don’t know what to do. It’s not my business. There’s no immediate danger I don’t think. I don’t know. Can someone cast a clear eye over this situation for me please.

thesandwich Mon 22-Apr-19 10:34:48

I would contact adult social services and register your concerns. Sounds tough to witness.

collectingcpd Mon 22-Apr-19 10:42:47

Sounds like a patient I had recently. Mother refused any help (for years) from SS, house was filthy, mother claimed it was fine. Adult children had disengaged, because of mother’s behaviour. Maybe 2 minutes on the front step is all the daughter is allowed. Hideous as it all sounds, the current set up
Might be the least hideous option. But as pp has said, call ss and tell them, leave them to sort it out. They may already know.

hatgirl Mon 22-Apr-19 10:59:05

You are making an awful lot of assumptions and being quite judgemental.

How have you leaped from a comment about paying son to do the garden to the daughter is obviously claiming direct payments and ripping mum/the council off? Even if she is in receipt of direct payments how do you know it's not specifically for the purpose of having her daughter deliver a meal to her three times a day? It could be a creative care plan that's the only way a vulnerable lady will accept support.

If this lady is fit and able to the shops then it's unlikely she will be in receipt of any significant fu do via a direct payment, certainly not a 'meal ticket'

I can see that this is a family that have always struggled financially and educationally. This is what worries me, because I know that desperate people do desperate things. you what? Poor people are all potential criminals?

By all means report it as a safeguarding issue to social services if you wish - that's obviously the correct thing to do if you suspect abuse or neglect. But from your op it sounds like a lot of disapproval about what you think they should be doing rather than any specific reason to believe this woman is being abused/ neglected.

wigglypiggly Mon 22-Apr-19 15:39:49

As pp have suggested you can speak to the adult social services safeguarding team if you have genuine concerns about her welfare w d think she may be at risk but you do sound a bit over over invested so just keep to the basic facts.

Smoggle Mon 22-Apr-19 15:43:52

The daughter's there three times a day.

You say yourself you couldn't bear the deal with the mother. Sounds like her daughter is doing lots.

Ihatemyseleffordoingthis Mon 22-Apr-19 15:48:15

"what I’ve realised is that mother is probably claiming direct payments and paying daughter for this care. "

What's led you to leap to this uncharitable conclusion?

Perhaps the daughter is simply doing her darnedest, isn't allowed in to help clean up but at least makes sure her mother eats.

Floralnomad Mon 22-Apr-19 15:49:39

I agree with pp that you are making lots of assumptions , surely the most her daughter would be getting is carers allowance which frankly is not easy to get and the highest level is only £80 per week I think . Even if the daughter is getting that she is providing gardening services and 2 meals per day 7 days a week which sounds ok to me . My grandmother was an alcoholic who on the face of it seemed normal to her neighbours but my late mother and myself were in and out like bloody yo-yos and it was a thankless task trying to deal with her - maybe this daughter feels the same but also likes us feels obligated to carry on . My GM also refused to have carers in or let us move her clutter and junk .

wigglypiggly Mon 22-Apr-19 15:56:09

Maybe the dad didnt want a bed downstairs which is really none of your business and maybe the daughter brings a meal and a sandwich because mum cant cook or the cooker doesnt work. I'm guessing you haven't been round to see if the mum needs any help from yourself.

cricketmum84 Mon 22-Apr-19 15:58:47

You are making an awful lot of assumptions and making a lot of judgements.

You have no idea if the daughter is receiving direct payments and I have no idea where you would even pluck that from? And if she was this would be absolutely nothing to do with you. Re the son doing the garden - as long as it's being done what on Earth has it got to do with you.

And your judgemental attitude about them being council tenants therefore educationally deficit is quite frankly disgusting.

Mind your own business!

NecklessMumster Mon 22-Apr-19 16:01:55

3 times a day is a big commitment, even if she doesn't stay it's still a welfare check
If it is Direct Payments then it will be reviewed by social services...they don't just hand £ over.

lostfrequencies Mon 22-Apr-19 16:08:03

Uh yeah, you've made a load of assumptions there. I think you need to keep your nose out instead of sitting at home and speculating.

dreichuplands Mon 22-Apr-19 16:23:14

OP I am sure you are coming from a place of genuine concern, try contacting adult social services to inform them of your concerns.
As an aside my grandparents were council house tenants all their lives, they refused to buy their house and a more educated man than my grandfather you wouldn't have met. He also encouraged and supported my dad to gain an education and go to university.
There was a great tradition of self education amongst the working class in some areas.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Mon 22-Apr-19 16:53:09

Thanks everyone, especially collectingcpd. I think you might be right that this is the least hideous option.

To the many people who accuse me of making assumptions, as I said, all conversations take place very loudly next to my side door. I work from home. I can’t help but hear. I wouldn’t want to go into more detail but I do hear conversations about payment dates which they seem to have a shared interest in. I can only think this is because of direct care payments.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Mon 22-Apr-19 16:59:48

In addition before I sign off. I don’t think I’d go to social services just yet. She seems good enough in terms of health at the moment. But at what point would people intervene? I think they would all be horrified to be reported to social services but how far is too far? What should I look out for so that she doesn’t come to any harm?

Smoggle Mon 22-Apr-19 17:05:41

What is it that you actually want to report though?
Your neighbour is a difficult older woman who seems fit and able.
Her daughter visits and brings food three times a day despite them not getting on well.
Her house is cluttered.
Her garden is a mess but you think her grandson should have sorted it.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Mon 22-Apr-19 17:10:40

Sorry one more comment for dreichuplands
Yes I am aware that living in a council house doesn’t mean that you are not educated, I have working class roots myself, what I mean is that this is a family that I can recognise is struggling with life and probably always have. You wouldn’t find them outside a council estate. And I say that as a member of one of those dysfunctional ‘stately home’ families. I didn’t want people reading the thread to get the impression everything was hunky dory next door apart from a potentially negligent Carer. This is a mother and a daughter who may not have the resources to get themselves out of this situation.

Also want to say I love the Scottish uplands and I’m well jealous even if it’s a dreich day smile

nopen Mon 22-Apr-19 17:13:50

What exactly do you mean by a 'direct care payment'?

If mum is able to go out and about she's unlikely to be claiming any disability benefit higher than lower rate Attendance Allowance.

If she's getting that daughter can claim Carers Allowance which is for 35 hours care a week. This doesn't have to be physical care or personal care. It can be helping with all sorts including popping over with food, prepping the food, sorting her money and paperwork etc- this can easily tot up. (My own mother takes up about 15/20 hours of my time a week just on little things such as welfare checks, taking to appointments that can take hours because she's so slow etc.)

It's unlikely your neighbour would be getting a direct payment from the council but as pp said it could be part of a care plan.

The daughter is providing some support, maybe that's all that's needed. If mum had capacity she has the right to refuse help.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Mon 22-Apr-19 17:16:35

Smoggle I suppose it’s that she isn’t getting the care she’s paying for and clearly needs and is possibly being financially exploited because she’s so lonely and desperate for company, in addition she is getting shouted at for example for doing her own garden. She’s physically fit but she’s cognitively and socially odd, maybe a mental health thing or maybe aspergers? I don’t know but there’s something that prevents her from accessing social support. A lot of people have said to report but I don’t think it’s tine for that yet. I’m just trying to work it out because I don’t want another neighbour to fall down the stairs and die if that can be prevented. She may not get better care from a professional but at the moment ‘care’ is not a good description of what she’s getting.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Mon 22-Apr-19 17:20:11

Nopen thanks that’s very helpful I don’t know what all the correct terms are for different disability allowances I just googled stuff. All I know is that they discuss money and it seems to be shared and sometimes it runs out and then they have to wait for a payment date. I also know that the daughter struggles financially and it worries me that will mean she won’t encourage a different method of care for her mother even if that’s more appropriate.

dreichuplands Mon 22-Apr-19 17:34:58

Argh. Phone ate my longer reply.
OP if you think she is being financially abused in anyway or requires additional support then adult social care is the right place to start.
They may do nothing more than some sign posting but they are in and out of more people's lives than children's social care because they gatekeep common resources needed by older people.
They have a very different role to children's social services.
I actually don't think it is helpful they are all called social workers.

dreichuplands Mon 22-Apr-19 17:35:58

There may be a visiting service she could be linked with for example.

HiHoney Mon 22-Apr-19 17:38:45

I think you should stop listening in on your neighbours conversations and drawing massively unfounded speculation of benefit fraud/financial abuse/emotional abuse from things they have said.
You should also stop being so judgmental in your assumption of them being poor and thick.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Mon 22-Apr-19 17:45:05

Dreich thanks that’s great, a visiting service would be wonderful if they could find someone with the times and patience to talk with her, because she seems so desperate when the daughter is there and rushes off. I hadn’t realised adult social care were not the same as social workers I just didn’t want them to feel shamed. It’s entirely possible they are doing their best. I will indeed contact adult social care next week and try to keep it simple and to the facts as someone said earlier. It’s odd to be so worried about someone I don’t like, although I’m always happy when I see her happy. She was singing along to the radio the other day, that was nice, but she’s mostly shouty, sweary Mary. grin

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Mon 22-Apr-19 17:47:12

Hi honey, I’d love to stop listening to their conversations but they inflict them on me unfortunately. I don’t know what you’d have me do? Usually I’m trying to work and I have to stop what I’m doing until they’ve gone because it’s so loud. Audible from kitchen, front room, bathroom, front bedroom. Perhaps you should stop being so judgemental yourself?

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