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How can I help my elderly neighbour?

(14 Posts)
Ghosty Sat 08-Nov-03 19:54:13

Hi all ...
Need some Mumsnet advice ...
My next door neighbour was burgled 2 weeks ago. She was at home at the time as was her son. She is pushing 80 and her son is in his late 30s and has Down's Syndrome. He was in his bedroom listening to his music (he has it very loud) and she was gardening in her front garden. She noticed a woman in the other neighbour's garden so she asked her if she could help. The other woman told her she had lost her dog and was looking for it. Joyce (my neighbour) is a chatty soul and talked to this lady for some time .... while someone else was in her kitchen taking her purse and other stuff .... Bastards! Makes me so cross even to type this.
A quarter of an hour later Joyce had a phone call ... supposedly from the local police who said that they had apprehended someone at the cashpoint machine trying to take money out of her account. THEY THEN SAID THAT THEY COULDN'T RETRIEVE HER CARD WITHOUT HER PIN NUMBER ....
SO .... Poor Joyce gave her PIN number over the phone. She phoned the police station a few minutes later to ask them something about it and obviously was told that she had been done.
Poor Joyce ... that afternoon the burglars cleared her account ... of $3000 (1000 pounds) ...
She was so upset and DH and I went round to offer any help but she said that she just felt foolish and that she was ok.
So, apart from keeping an eye out, we haven't done much else.
Yesterday my other neighbour (Rae ... from the other side of Joyce) came to see me. She said that Joyce had told her last Sunday that she had only been able to scrape together $8 for food for her and her son. Her other son (a doctor) came to stay last week and offered to pay her board for that week to help (he gave her $10 a day .... whaaaat????????).
Rae and I are worried and want to help but don't want to offend by giving her money ....
What do you think I should do? I would like to do something to help without offending her and she is quite a proud lady ...
Sorry for the length of this post ... but any suggestions would be appreciated ....
Thanks for listening
Ghosty xxx

crystaltips Sat 08-Nov-03 20:00:35

Rather than give her money - how about cooking here a few casseroles or preparing some food for her. That would be a gesture and she would realise the thought and time and effort that went towards your kindness.
If not money - maybe vouchers ( Tesco / M&S ) you could say that you didn't know what her taste was like. Tell her to treat herself ... but that could give her the freedom to buy the "bare essential"

anais Sat 08-Nov-03 20:08:02

What evil bastards. Sorry, no advice, but will have a think. Just wanted to say how angry I am on her behalf

coppertop Sat 08-Nov-03 20:48:21

What about giving her some vouchers as 'you can't use them yourself and would hate to see them wasted'. Or invite them both round to dinner. She might be glad of an excuse to get out of the house. Poor Joyce.

suedonim Sat 08-Nov-03 21:26:47

What a horrible story, Ghosty. The only silver lining is that there are lovely people in this world, like you and your neighbour, who want to help.

Could you organise a delivery of foods for your neighbour, if you know roughly what they like to eat? Or would they come and share the occasional meal with you and your family?

bunny2 Sat 08-Nov-03 21:53:06

I think there are some really good ideas here. You're a treasure Ghosty. Can she do her own shopping? Perhaps you could help her or offer to accompany her, she probably feels very vulnerable.

misdee Sat 08-Nov-03 21:59:26

i would put together togather a few basics, maybe some vouchers and possibly invite them over to eat at yours a few times. is it a close knit community? maybe a few others can help out as well. even if she is proud i'd be she would really appricate your kindness at this time.

reading your post has made me so angry, i hate the fact that there are so people in the world who prey on others.

bobthebaby Sat 08-Nov-03 22:28:23

That's just horrible Ghosty. Poor Joyce, it's bad enough to be burgled, but to be made to feel foolish too...
Have the victim support people been round to see her? I know in Christchurch they just send a note with their phone number which is not really the point, if you already feel stupid you are hardly likely to proactively make a phone call to them. Could you ring them for her? Could the police come around and help her out with some security tips - do they have Community Police that could do this? This would help her feel safer in the future. Maybe WINZ could help out with a crisis payment, she may feel better about taking money off the government than neighbours. You could ring them on her behalf and find out if she was entitled to anything - she should be getting regular money for her son because he has DS. Lastly the bank probably are not going to come to the party because she gave her pin number out, but if put under pressure may give a little, especially if she has been a customer for years (as many old people have).
I hope she feels better and safer in her home soon.

lilibet Sun 09-Nov-03 00:08:25

Bastards, total and absolute bastards.

Everyone else has given really good advice and I've just sat here imagining my Mum. Bastards.
Really glad that she's got you.

Angeliz Sun 09-Nov-03 00:16:34

Ghosty what an awful story! I would offer to help and if that means giving money then jus firmly bit clearly stating that you know she'd do the same for you and that it's not up for debate.......might do the trick! Sometimes i think just walking away and saying you aren't going to argue about it makes the other person accept whatever you're offering anyway!

p.s- i wish you were my neighbour

Ghosty Sun 09-Nov-03 00:39:56

Thanks so much everyone for all those suggestions.
They are total bastards these burglars ... We were burgled in March and although I was upset and angry that someone dared to come and take our telly etc this has made me more upset and angry ... I mean, DH and I are young and those things are just material things and yeah, we had to fork out for insurance excess and an alarm system ... but to prey on a kind little lady who has had a lifetime of looking after a disabled son and disabled husband (before he passed away) is just dispicable ...
Funnily enough, only last month in the community news letter there was a notice telling people to be careful when gardening as robbers where targeting open back doors ....
Also, they took some of her papers ... mainly non important ones except one was a membership list (with addresses) for her club - a club that consists of old ladies like her .... and she is too embarrassed to phone her friends to tell them to be careful ...
I am going round this afternoon to find out whether she has had any help from Victim Support ... (bobthebaby ... thanks for reminding me about them ... but what is WINZ? Sorry if that is a silly question but I am still an immigrant ))
I think that the Community Police have been very good ... they have upped their act recently as they were round to Joyce in minutes (took them 3 days to come to us!) ... ironically the copper was a nice chap from Moss Side (Manchester) recently recruited from the UK to sort out the under staffed NZ Police Force.
Thanks so much for your advice ...
I like the idea of cooking some casseroles for her and Richard ... will have a chat with Rae ...

bobthebaby Sun 09-Nov-03 03:27:58

Ghosty, WINZ are Work and Income New Zealand, sort of like the DSS or Job Centres. They pay out other things like hardship grants and disability allowance too. Number is Govt (blue section) at front of phone book.

robinw Sun 09-Nov-03 07:41:02

message withdrawn

codswallop Fri 28-Nov-03 13:23:14

what happened Ghosty?

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