Treated badly by family of elderly neighbour

Hi All,

I’ve been friends with an elderly lady in my street for years. Latterly, I became her carer for a few years as she list independence and suffered health problems. Her daughter only called in once a week with food and to take the washing, she never stayed long and my friend was very lonely. I created a care job through attendance allowance to keep it professional. While it was hard work sometimes I felt she needed me. I included her in my family events as I couldn’t bear to see her alone so often, sat in her window looking out on life. The daughter didn’t work and was well off but I tried not to judge her disinterest. Fast forward to Christmas 2020 and I was I’ll but still went over to help until I tested positive for covid. Naturally I gave it to my friend. I tried to care for her while still having covid myself but had to call an ambulance for her. I never saw her again because I could not visit her but the daughter did. Fair enough although it was hard with the worry and guilt but I hadn’t done it on purpose. She died and from then on it’s been awful with the daughter edging away from me but to be fair not blaming me. I seemed to say the wrong thing and felt uncomfortable in her company. I offered the key back but she said to keep it for now. So I’ve been checking on the house and watering plants, always texting that I’d been in and all was well. This week the daughter turned up and asked for the key saying the insurance company said I’m not allowed to have it. I googled this but it’s not true. She has every right for the key but a nicer way could’ve been done.

I let rip on a text as all the pent up emotions came out. The biggest being that I’d asked to speak to her mum on her mobile while she was in hospital and dying. Just to say I loved her really as I was heartbroken. That request was ignored. In response I had a message from my friends granddaughter saying my friend wasn’t my mother and I am not the victim etc. I was hurt. I’ve written a letter to the daughter expressing that I will stay away but explaining that her mum was my friend and part of my own family and I apologised for my own outburst. She knows my husband has incurable cancer and that I am struggling.

What I’m asking is, is this. Is this about her her not doing enough for her mum? Relying on me for so long to do her job? My grief has been huge, has this made her resentful? I need some guidance as I can’t seem to move on from thinking about it. I even accept that my friends small informal financial legacy to me has been denied as have the other neighbours legacies. Is there more to this that I’m not seeing? Thank you.

Dear Emma,

It sounds like you were a very good friend to your neighbour and even supported her when you felt poorly and your husband needed care too. Your friend must have known how much you cared for her and loved her.

I expect the daughter is feeling regret/ guilt for not spending more time with her Mum. She maybe blaming herself that her Mum got Covid, for if she had given her Mum more companionship and help then you wouldn’t have needed to keep visiting when you were poorly.

After all you had done and continued to do, looking after her Mum and then the house, she probably didn’t know how to ask for the key back and may have been putting it off. Easy to say but try not to read too much into the key thing.

Take heart that you did the best for your friend, and have no regrets (unlike the daughter.) Not being able to say goodbye and tell her how fond of her you were, was very hard, but remember she knew how much you cared, by all you did for her.


Hi Emma. I agree with Melly - you were very kind to your elderly friend and you gave her so much of your time and energy.
I guess that your friends daughter was jealous of the closeness and love you shared. It sounds like she did not have a close, loving relationship with her mother.
Now is the time to start thinking about yourself. The covid restrictions are soon to be lifted so how about joining a local group in your area to make new friends?

I agree with Melly too. You were obviously a great friend and neighbour to this lady and I imagine her daughter is now realising she could have done more herself.

As they say “there’s nowt so queer as folk”. I was very friendly with a 92 year old lady a few years ago because she was interesting to chat to and enjoyed the same sort of crafts as me. I used to go for a daily walk and if I went past her house she would always knock the window and beckon me in for a coffee. She did have a cleaner and someone who did shopping for her so all I did was chat to her but she had had a fascinating life so we chatted a lot about that.

She had one son who was retired and married with 3 adult sons who had small grandchildren. They lived about 3 hours drive away but she was lucky if she saw the son once a year and hardly ever saw the grandsons. She said the Daughter in law made fun of her craftwork and showed no interest in her. She said they were all really busy people (despite being retired)

Yet when she died they miraculously all found time to come up like a pack of vultures and they decided to keep the house and use it for their holidays and they are up here all the time now!

I would just accept that you did your best and draw a line under it. You don’t need people like her to keep bothering you.

Hello, Emma. I also endorse Melly’s well-worded reply; she has astutely recognised both your feelings and the daughters. Remember the daughter is also grieving, and possibly is unsure of the best way to act in some circumstances.

You did a great job in caring for this lady. Things are now moving on and you must move on too. You can live on with happy memories of your times with this lady and the satisfaction in what you did to improve her quality of life.