I cannot begin to explain what angers me most, that this has been allowed to happen or that so called London Community Spirit is nowhere to be seen.
My Nan used to be the one who was always there, the one to give her all for everyone. She'd never think twice about giving her last cent to those who needed it, she was always the first to help and last to leave.
So you can understand why I am just a little bit pissed off that now, when she needs help most; they have all seemed to have fucked off and left her in this appalling state.
She worked in the centre of London until she was 85 years old, when she retired due to the start of health problems. And I think this is clearly where the trouble began, there is nothing for her to do anymore now. Being widowed in her mid 50's also did not help, but she always had something or someone to keep her occupied. And then things changed, losing the community hall across the road has made it worse in my opinion.
With her health getting worse, she lost the sight in one eye; and when you couple that with heart and breathing problems, it all adds up to an elderly lady getting frail and older. And that in itself scares me, especially with the area she lives and indeed the world we live in. Maybe it is very Tory of me, but how can you trust someone that would kill you as soon as look at you!
So with the health problems and the area she lives in, it already looks bad; add to that the fact she is clearly lonely and has nothing to do. Now the problem she has been faced with is dementia - something she believes she does not have, but clearly does. And I guess this is what has been making things worse, that and the fact she still thinks she is working and earning a wage.
Truth is she is slowly becoming unable to look after herself or indeed her affairs, and I won't even start on about the state her flat is in! She was never like this when younger (yes I know it happens with age) and the truth is, it is frighten to think someone could be allowed to get like this is in our Country.
Part of my anger is towards all the "friends" she helped out over the years, those she looked after. Where are her religious friends? What about those she used to work for/with? Or those from the Eastern Star whom she spoke so highly of? Or even those fellow Freemasons that stood with my Grandfather before he died? Where is this "loyalty" they speak of so highly?
Yes I know she is our family, but when that family cannot be there surely the purpose for friends is to take on the families’ mantle? Is it too much for someone to give a damn? I want to blame the council of the area, but in truth I feel that they are like most council’s; say they'll look after all the people in the ward and then neglect those that matter most.
She lives in a block of flats that seem to be the place the council send the misfits of society - and I do not mean any offence by that, just the best way to explain. The flats cannot have been modernized in all the years they have been up; they don't look like it anyway! It's a two bedroomed flat and when she was able, seemed easy to clean and look after. But now, it is a totally different story. Whether or not it is her health causing her trouble, she simply cannot look after the flat as it is.
It looks like she hasn't hovered in years, goodness knows how many dust bunnies there are under the beds etc. The spare room is filled with food and gifts and things I know she cannot afford, the bath looks like it either hasn't been used or cleaned in years. The loo is bad now, especially due to there being a leak from upstairs - filled with damp and stains all up the walls. And there is a distinct smell of stale urine around, not unlike the one coming from her chair in the lounge.
Talking of the lounge, it too looks in a right mess. There is food everywhere again, half eaten sometimes too; and a pip/stone still lying where it fell on the paper. Food and stains covers the floor, coffee table, footstool and bizarrely; remote controls for the televisions. One of the more worrying things is the small gas fire/heater by her seat, it is a worry that something could happen and effectively blow the whole building up!
And then we come to the kitchen, and I swear she must either not eat or have a cast iron stomach... The place is full of food, it is on top of the small dining table; the work surfaces are also covered. No idea what is in the pantry, I hate going into the place; your feet stick to the floor! And the fridge, open the door at ye own peril - the rancid smell hits you within seconds, and lingers for ages - and travels too! God only knows if anything is within date, I am sure there must be a penicillin farm growing in there!
That is just the state of her home, something both her younger self and her husband would have had a fit over. It is the state of her mind which is more of a worry, and there are many reasons why it does. Not least that she simply does not seem to understand she no longer has a wage coming in, she just cannot afford to keep spending like she is earning money each week. Every day she seems to go out shopping, buying food she seems not to eat; let alone want.
The other thing that worries me is that she is vulnerable, how easy would it be for some unscrupulous person to come along and con her? I am convinced that she has been, but seeing as the amount of poop she is in is huge; goodness knows when we will ever find out. But the main problem is that she is in amazing debt and trouble, and simply put; she does not understand just how bad it is! The main cause of the problems is her car, and the one thing I don't think she will be able to live without. Her car is the only way she gets out and about, it is her lifeline; but is also becoming her downfall too.
She was always a nightmare to get into the car with, always willing to shout at the other drivers even when she was in the wrong! The she began to get a few speeding fines or parking in the wrong place etc, and now she has began getting bump after scrap on the ten year old car. Two years ago it came to ahead when she had an accident with a double decker bus; it was a bit of a bump; but thankfully no major injuries... The car took the worst. What was the worry was she had no idea where she had left the car, no real idea where it happened; or how. Clearly the shock has affected her, who wouldn't be; but just how much of it was to do with her dementia and how much the accident?
Every time we go down we spot how many more scraps and dents are there, wondering how many more she will have next time is anyone’s guess. And it isn't just the points or the dents or the accidents, it is the fear that one day she will have such a bad accident and either hurt herself or someone else. That and the fact she simply cannot afford to run a car anymore, it all adds up to worrying signs. She has insurance of over £800 a month, which is hard enough for anyone to find; let alone an elderly person.
Her road tax has run out, only just sorted out her MOT; after a good six months after it was due... But the most worrying thing is one (or maybe more) unpaid fine the Leiwsham council has given her, or to be more exact the fact she has not paid it/them. She has clearly had notices about the fines, but ignored them or been unable to pay. The council has forward the debt onto a debt agency, which gave her a chance to clear it but has also been ignored.
Now she has been told that the bailiffs are coming to take her car away as a start of clearing her debts, though whether or not that will cover it is a different matter! Either they have either come for it and could not get access to it, or they will be doing so soon. Either way, things do not look good for her; or indeed us! So now what? Well, it seems that if it isn't one thing it is another. How to deal with it all when we can only get down to see her one a month or so? We can only do so much, and in truth it is all like an iceberg; and we are only scratching the surface!
She was told to go to the bank Monday (today) and transfer some savings over; trouble is it seems that has not happened. Monday is nearly over and we have no idea where she is or even if she has gone to the bank, we don't know if her car has been taken away; or if she's had an accident or anything! And I guess that is part of the problem too, the not knowing and not really being able to help; that and the fact she is so damn stubborn!
She clearly still has the marbles to know when she does not want to do something, it does make me wish Dad (who's Mother it is) was more forceful; but can understand why he isn't or doesn't want to be.
So now what? In truth I don't know, I have no idea where to start; and I am sure my Dad doesn't either. The future does not look a pleasant one, and as someone who is a worrier; none of this helps any!