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Elderly neighbour needs help….what to do - Carers UK Forum

Elderly neighbour needs help….what to do

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
My elderly neighbour has been showing signs of dementia for the last year and a half. Right at the start when I noticed he was forgetting little things, repeating himself and getting confused with every day tasks, I spoke with 2 of his 3 sons about it. They acknowledged what I was talking about and agreed that they also noticed something wrong. He has deteriorated pretty fast over the last few months.
I popped round to his house today to check i. because I hadnt seen him out walking his dog for a while. I am absolutely heartbroken at the state of how this man has been left to live. His house is dirty, flys everywhere, no heating and stinks. His clothes are disgusting and look like they havent even been changed in god knows how long. He didnt even have as much as a pint of milk in the fridge…and no one is at least making sure he is eating a meal in a day.
I suppose i am looking for advice on what i need to do next to get him some help and support. Do i contact our local council social care department or something? Would he need to be diagnosed first? Will they even listen to me as i am not family?
I will give his family their place first in the hope the do something. I am not optimistic though because they have literally been in that house and seen the state of their dad and not done a thing.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated…thank you x
Oh Frank, thank goodness you popped in. If I were you I would ring Adult Safeguarding at your local council. You can remain anonymous if you want to. Tell them you are very concerned about someone you know and about the conditions he is living in. They will send somebody out to check on him and get him the care he needs.

I assume none of the sons lives with him. Sadly some people leave their old folk to deteriorate like this rather than them going into care because they will then lose their inheritance. I have seen it many times. The most recent was an old lady with dementia and her two sons let her live alone with no carers, with grubby clothes, hardly any food, no central heating, no contact with neighbours, mouldy food etc. They didn’t want her to sell her house and go into care as they would lose out. It made me sick because they used to say “we would never put our mother in a care home.” Like it was something to be proud of. yet they allowed her to live in squalor with no help at all. You would think people would want their parents to live out their last few years being cared for properly with warmth and good food.

Do let us know how you get on. There will be somebody on call at social services today if you ring them.
What a terrible shock and it's just horrific to find someone living like that without family intervention.

I hope you were able to get an on call person from social services.

Hopefully they will deem him unsafe to live alone and get him a residential place for the care he deserves.
Thank you for replying, its very much appreciated!
I feel like his sons care about him but just not enough! I think they are ignorant more than anything. I think the person would be happier to stay at home if he was given the right support. Maybe have his meals delivered, have someone check on him in the morning and then again at bedtime, Im not sure if this is realistic? He has a little dog that he would be heart broken to be apart from.
I have spoken to one of the sons about my concerns and he has assured me he will get on top of this situation. He said he needed someone to really point the severity of his dads condition as he knows he had avoided the reality of it all.
If nothing gets better I know I will have to do the necessary but I know i will also feel incredibly guilty if he is taken out of his house and put into a care home. He is still able to talk to neighbours and go to the shop nearby. Is it unrealistic to think he could stay at home for another while and get some support to do so from the social care people? Or is it the case he would just have to go to a care home?
Look at his current needs. The house needs sorting, the council have legal powers to do this.

Contact Social Services today, you would never forgive yourself if he died alone in squalor because you'd left it too long.
Let's face it, the family have left it to get to this state, so they have effectively opted out, and to me they have now lost any right to have a say in his future care. To start with, he needs immediate hospitalisation or respite care so that he can be cleaned up and properly assessed.
Frank as the wife of a medically non compliant difficult old man may I put the other side to you? If you visited me and saw my husband in his dirty stained gown on his recliner chair where he sleeps, you would think he was neglected. You will never know how much effort the District Nurses put into trying to get him to accept a hospital bed and co-operate with the decluttering of our home which frankly is a health hazard for me as I keep catching my heels in his faux fur throw which is always falling off and onto the floor! Dirty gown- I have to try and steal it when he is in the bath as he says I only say it is dirty to humiliate him.

I do not know what efforts the sons have made but the father has to want and be able to accept help. Would he be prepared to accept carers or a cleaner? Maybe he would be better in a home or it may get to the stage where this is the only option. I totally agree that if it is possible, keep him in his home as long as possible with his little dog.

Do you know the guys GP Surgery? If so, maybe you could write saying that the GP has a Duty of Care and could they speak on the phone to the guy and access 'mental capacity'? If he has this or is deemed to have this, and wont accept help, then there is little his sons can do. Believe me I went through this with my late father and it was heartbreaking as he sent the carers away or shouted at them.
For years, my Mum's Father lived alone in his house, never accepting visitors. When he went into hospital for what turned out to be a year or more due to a number of issues, my parents finally got to his house to find a dirty, smelly, messy house. He'd lived like that for years, out of choice.

It was not because no one cared. In this case no one knew. But if they had known, it would have changed nothing. For the very simple reason that it was his choice. For something like 30 years. And no amount of wheedling, persuasion, threats or anything else would have changed that.

Without knowing for certain what's happening, there's a veritable can of worms waiting to be opened.


When you don't know the situation, it's sometimes worth playing it safe and getting in touch with social services to raise concerns - not as an accusation of neglect but as a concern that someone may need more help than the family is able to give. That ensures that everyone is safe and supported as far as they want to be, and no one is making judgements that could set in motion the wrong approach.
I knew a case of two ladies living in squalor, one supposedly caring for the other. The smell of cat poo was terrible, and there were fleas. Social Services involved , said they couldn't do anything. They waited until the older lady DIED before they accepted the younger one in her 60's had early onset dementia and she moved into residential care.
Yes I can relate to this. Praying my home does not smell of cat poo but it is a nightmare in the front room to hoover as the printers and TV's are too heavy to move. I could block the room off, to stop cats using the litter trays and take the litter trays out , but husband built a bookcase over the sliding doors! In fairness, cats love to sit on the table as it catches the sun. Burst into tears because one of the cats had been sick in the window sill and had to climb up onto the table to stand a chance of cleaning it. I also need to take the nets down and ideally replace the curtains with warmer heavier ones but cannot get the steps in place to do it as too cluttered. Er I do not think I have early onset dementia btw!

But yes if the person has 'mental capacity' then it is very hard for family and in my case, this includes me, to take action without their agreement. But Frank I would still write to the GP just expressing concerns. At least you know you have tried and hopefully the GP can contact the sons who may then feel able to progress help for their father?