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Man dies in home - and isn't found until a year later

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter

I think this is terribly sad. He was only 61. His rent was still being paid by direct debit and he didn't have a phone.

This has prompted discussion about what has happened to being `neighbourly'? And I have to agree. Our landlord lives behind us and we hadn't seen or heard from him for a few days, and his gate was locked so we couldn't take the rent up on time.

We were worried, and so we phoned him on his mobile. He was in hospital as he'd hurt his back. He was so touched we'd phoned - his sons don't care about him, he's divorced, and he doesn't have many friends. He's quite lonely, really.

But at least we had his number. I was always raised to get to know our neighbours, and one of them always has a key to our house, and we know all of each other's basic contact numbers. My parents also have some numbers of some of our friends, in case they can't contact us.

It seems like basic common sense to me - not any kind of privacy invasion. Perhaps had this poor man had something like this in place, then he would still be alive - or at least it would have only been a matter of a day or two before he was found, not 12 months or more.

What do you all think? Do we need to get back to being more neighbourly?
post #2 of 13
I think it is terribly sad something like that can happen. It is all too predictable now-a-days when we are so busy that we don't all eat around the dinner table, when we sit on the bus and everybody has their earbuds in (instead of making conversation), when we take roadtrips and everybody has a gameboy or ipod or little moviescreen in front of them, when people text and im in order to avoid having a face-to-face with someone 30ft away. People are just too wrapped up in themselves to notice anyone else in this automated world. Also, the media has put the fear of other people into us (your neighbor might be a sexual predator or an axe murderer for all you know). It easily explains how this can happen.
post #3 of 13
OMG where we use to live in Michigan, people were just rude about the whole neighbor thing, including us. They never talked to us, we never talked to them (unless like in the apartments we had we were yelling at them to turn their music down).

Here its totally different. Granted I don't know the person next store, but we've seen here and waved "hi" and she's waved back. I'm still getting use to this whole friendly person thing

My mom was the neighborhood spy and often made up stories about people. She watched the news too much.
post #4 of 13
That is terribly sad. It leaves me with a lot of questions but one that sticks out in particular is the man had a sign on his door for Meals on Wheels to leave the meals at the door if he wasn't home. Sooooo........what happened to the meals for the last year?

I still work so if nothing else my employer will notice I'm missing. My neighbor knows where my secret hiding spot for my house key is and I know where hers is. We help each other if we need something. I hope they never move.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Yeah - exactly. Surely a whole YEAR shouldn't have gone by without a single person noticing? I mean - that's more than just not having family and friends. To me this shows a profound lack of interest and a terrible indifference to the people around us. I think what was said about the fact that we are becoming more and more isolated as individuals even if we're in a crowd of people is right - and I think it's really sad.

Max and I have had lots of discussions about how we are going to try to raise our child to be an outdoorsy, outgoing type - like we were growing up - and not stuck at home in front of the computer with their iPod plugged in 10 hours a day. I think it will be up to us as parents to gear our children towards human contact again. Because they are our future - we want to try to help shape them into people who actually like and know how to talk to other people in person! Not via their mobile phones or chat rooms.
post #6 of 13
That is so sad! I remember posting something similar last year....I am going to go look now and see what it was.
post #7 of 13
There was a similar case here some years back. The man in question had been dead for 6 years before he was found. The social services just kept paying his rent. He had children, but they were estranged.

I'm sure dead people are not going to mind or know about their corpses not being found, but it is incredibly sad for someone to be so alone no one is missing them.
post #8 of 13
I agree, just imagine how that person felt in life, so alone and depressed i am sure. Probably died of a broken heart because aparently not one single person cared for him. Makes me sad thinking about it. I have a friend who i believe lives in London, she says that type of thing is common because everyone stays to themselves. Its really sad.
post #9 of 13
I stick to myself for better or worse but at least my mother and co-workers would notice my absence. Well my hubby too ...I would hope!
post #10 of 13
Very, very sad, what is this world coming to?
post #11 of 13
HHmm..I did not read the story just going on posts here..very sad indeed

On the friendly neighbor's is hard to find friendly neighbors and it is hard to make that first step to be the friendly neighbor; as with societal and cultural views, you do not know if that person would be open to the friendship or really just wants to be left alone. The people catty corner from us I am constantly trying with the Mother that lives there as her daughter plays with my kids all the time. She does not really seem to want to make the effort expect to wave hello or come over and get her daughter. She has come into our home once but only again to pick up her daughter and she stayed not even a minute.

We do know all our neighbors and have phone numbers to two of them. And one neighbor whom we have known the longest, does have a key to our home.

My mother and her neighbors are very neighborly and they would do ANYTHING for her.
post #12 of 13
This is a very sad example of how lonely many elderly people are and live. My family was never the friendly neighbor type, but I always have been, especially the elderly. I have always found them to be interesting and loving people, usually not at first, but once you get to know them they are so appreciative and grateful people ever! I live in NYC and lived in one building for 15 years where I became close to my elderly neighbors before any others and always looked out for their well being and let them know they could always come to me for anything as well. When I moved the woman below me cried and It was very sad. I saw her 2 years later in a McDonalds and she was so happy to see me! This was a normally bitter, yelling, extreme hard of hearing and loosing her sight, elderly made me feel so good to give her a smile! I worry about her the most and stop by once in a while to say hello!
post #13 of 13
It is difficult to get to know neighbors these days. We live on a street with fifteen families, and one family has a Christmas party every year and invites everyone on the block. Including us, only two to three of the fifteen families ever shows up. We've lived here for over five years and know all the neighbors on a first-name basis (and that took some effort), but only recently learned the last name of our neighbor across the street.

I'm afraid I wouldn't notice if I didn't see a neighbor for a year... and if he or she had no family or friends... a lonely death indeed.
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