My sister, Sheridan, has recently been diagnosed with a Mesothelioma and has to have lung drains three times a week. She is not too well at the moment and is in rather low spirits.
My concern is her living conditions. She lives in a small bungalow with her husband and dog. She has never been a house-proud person, and is quite untidy. She is a kind, wonderful person, and her untidiness has never been an issue for anyone until she developed her condition. I have discussed with her the benefits of now having a clean tidy home for her physical and mental health and she has agreed wholeheartedly.
The main problem is my brother-in-law. He is a fad hoarder, and my sister's home is chock-a-block with what are mostly his discarded or unused possessions that have been gathering thick dust over a long period of time; dust that she should not now be breathing in.
I have had several discussions with him about decluttering and getting a cleaner in for my sister's sake, but he has a very casual attitude towards how important a clean, tidy home now is for my sister's lung condition and state of mind. His hoarding is not due to mental health issues, he is just too lazy to organise and put things away, using his home as one big storage container. Nor is he in denial of her illness. He knows she will die before her time, but is doing nothing to improve the quality of what life she has left. I am trying to, but live too far away to be there all the time. Her best friend. Jackie, lives nearby, and is taking more care of Shel than her own husband is.
Jackie organised a professional decluttering and cleaning company to come and giver her a quote (Shel can more than afford it) but he told Jackie to cancel it and promised me that he'd do it himself. It seems to us (her side of the family and friends) that he does not want to spend the money being provided for her care. He took a month off work to gut, clean and redecorate the place. It became nothing more than a four week holiday where he did nothing towards making any improvements to my sister's living conditions. He did not attempt to do anything useful besides taking her to her appointments. He will even let someone else take her to the hospital if they offer. In fact, her ex-husband shows more concern and has been doing more for her than her current, but we cannot expect him to clean her house.
I have been waiting for my brother-in-law to be out of the way and back to work before I attempted to do anything, and yesterday, myself and my daughter, AJ, spent the day with Shel. We cleaned, tidied and organised one side of her lounge, which took over an hour. I then spent the rest of the day cleaning her kitchen, which, since she has become poorly, is not just messy, but has become filthy because she has no strength to wipe it round. It is also full of flies because he has not yet bothered to get a fly curtain for the back door, which has been ever open in the recent heat. My brother-in-law sees no harm in preparing her a meal in these unhygienic conditions. There was a full scrap food caddy sitting amidst the washing up on the draining board. Everything she eats with has been crawling with flies. I feel his attitude toward her home care is tantamount to a neglect that will lose me myself sister before I need to. She coughs constantly whilst being around all the dust.
I am fully prepared to get as much as possible cleaned up with each visit, but not only do I live a fair distance from her, but I cannot be her full-time cleaner. She needs to employ one but is not strong enough to argue with her husband's debates on spending money that isn't his anyway.
I would just like to say that her NHS care is outstanding. When she has been in hospital for a few days, she comes home feeling and looking so much better. She is home for a week or so and goes downhill again, and as her only sibling, I am becoming distraught, because I know I cannot get through to her stubborn husband. Is there anyone I can contact -- social worker, case worker -- anyone who can pay a visit and stress to him that her living conditions are not acceptable? I feel that if someone official puts it to him, he has no excuse not to make a concerted effort with improvements, and will allow her to have a cleaner once or twice a week.
I thank you wholeheartedly for any help you can give me with this concern.