Today I meet with his ex-partner to get the lay of the land from her but without him because of the restraining order, then take him to change his doctor to the pet one from the homeless shelter, then buy him some socks and underpants, come back to the place I'm staying and do him some washing, then..... no idea yet but it'll be something.
I'll update this later with a bit of luck but an example of a conversation with my brother is as follows - bear in mind this subject, our parents, comes up several times a day and they are both dead and he knows/knew this - He says, "What's mum and dad doing in England?" Me, "Don't know." Him, "Gardening? Watching TV? Cooking?" Me, "Don't know." Him, "Not a good time of year to be outside..... pause..... mind you, they're dead so....."
Quite comical in one respect but I've moved on from simply telling him they are dead as soon as he asks because he just bursts into tears. I try different tactics because I know he wont remember. I said once they were on a cruise. Training for a spaceship journey. Driving through Africa with a pet hippo. It's getting too big for the car though so they'll need to buy a truck instead. His reaction is interest and surprise but then one minute later will ask me again.
Today was the day I awoke the sleeping giant of the Spanish social services. And probably poked them hard enough to annoy them a little.
His ex-partner told me a couple of weeks ago she had an appointment with them to start off discussing my brother. I asked her to delay this until I was there, which she did. We arrived and eventually were ushered into an office. A man, a slob, was sitting there asking us what it was about. His breath smelt as though he'd eaten a decomposing rabid dog and it had shit on his face as he chewed on the gristle. It may come as no surprise I disliked him.
A broad picture was painted, the ex-partner producing various items of paperwork. Let's call the slob, Paco. This went on for fifteen minutes or so, and even with my scant Spanish I could tell we were trying to plait fog with him. I leaned forward into the full force of his halitosis and asked his ex to translate what I say.(Obviously I'll relate more or less what I said but in English) - It went something like, I said, "Paco. I know you are someone who is just assessing the case of my brother. I feel you need to take this seriously. I think you need to involve your supervisor, a case worker if not you, and a psychologist/psychiatrist or a medical professional as soon as possible. If not, I will bring him here and leave him in your reception whilst I go for my lunch. Then you can see first hand how he is without us distracting you. You can spend time alone with him. No problem."
I know, more than suspect, but maybe not quite as strongly as know, but I know social workers, especially when they are as slobbish as him, will avoid wherever possible direct contact with their "charges". They usually prefer to direct from afar and get some minion, some runner, internee etc, do do the dirty work of taking them to places and being with them. I was not an idle threat. I told him so. I told him that if some progress is not made today you will come to work tomorrow morning and find him asleep on you doorstep covered in shit and piss, drunk out his mind, reeking of hashish clutching a note of your name and I will instruct my brother to seek you out, and only you.
"One minute," he said. Five minutes later he came back, introduced three other people and then left us to it. Surprisingly, one was a case worker, one a supervisor and one a psychologist. You couldn't make it up. Perfect trifecta(?) We made some progress after that but still, when they were saying what they could do and how long it will take, they didn't like committing themselves. Whenever I asked a question like, what will the situation be after the 22nd of March when he has no place any more at the homeless shelter? They would reply in generalisations and maybe's. I told them they must come up with a plan. It is no good saying in so many weeks he will go to a doctor etc etc. Or be assessed for the drink and drug clinic. See a lawyer about getting his own apartment back etc. This can happen when you say, but are you telling me after the 22nd March he will be back on the street because you've been too slow to find him somewhere?
They suddenly seemed to come up with a plan that maybe he could stay in a council owned monitored old folk's home for a while as he is of pensionable age. Who pays? I asked. It depends on his finances, they said. Ok, when you find out he hasn't any, which you will, who pays? Maybe his apartment could be sold, they queried.
Yes, maybe I said, but first you, and I mean you because I'm not paying and neither is his ex-partner, we are not paying for a lawyer to get out his tenants that are refusing to leave. Once you do that and sell it, because neither me or his ex-partner will take on selling it, once you do then you can use that money to assist with his care - you have my permission as his only surviving relative to do this and you have my permission to do everything else within your power that does not make him suffer unnecessarily from his mental illness like reverting to living on the street when you fail to do anything in time.
I then said, mind you, if his mental illness progresses much further he will become a danger to himself and possibly others and he will be whatever the Spanish version is of being Sectioned when the Police pick him up and take him to the nearest accident and emergency hospital, because that is all they can do (in the UK the Mental Health Act allows for a person to be detained in a secure medical facility for treatment until they are, not cured, but become more stable and are not a danger to themselves etc etc) and he has paperwork on him with your names so you will be called out at 3am, or at least the on-call emergency social worker, because I know you have one (there always is one, I've had to call them out in the middle of the night a few times before, or at least the cell block has) and if that is the case, and you sell his only asset, the apartment, from under him whilst he is medically unfit that seriously, I do wonder if you have the power at that time whilst he is in that state, to do so.
I left them with the thought that it could well be in their best interests to expedite any help they can give.
I think I did ok.
N.B. his ex-partner who was translating for me, word for word, bless 'er, initially looked somewhat shocked at what I was asking her to say as these aren't the things you say to people in a position of power, especially when the idea is for them to help you by using that power of an large organisation and their resources. She would keep looking back at me as though to ask, did I really want to say that.
But I told her, if you think I am a lighthouse then I will shine/shit on them because they know they have an obligation to act, but I want it to be in my time frame and not theirs when they are able, capable and generally do, drag their feet and give up the minimum necessary to either satisfy the law, their duty or their policy, or all three. I told her, they cannot refuse to help, they cannot, but it is up to them what help they give. I'm telling them the minimum in some unspecified time is unsatisfactory to me and as it is my brother involved, they must pull the stops out.
By the way, I never took him to the doctor to change, the social services thing came first and they will do it. I realised I didn't mention that his ex-partner has contacted me this evening to say he will be taken to do the doctor thing tomorrow and also to the pensions department to see about his Spanish pension. He doesn't get one at the moment and it may be because he is still a year or so too young, but at least they'll say what he will get, if anything, when he is eligible. Maybe my little talk with them had some effect.
He will not get a UK state pension, and I clarified this with the UK pensions department recently, because to be eligible you have to have worked for ten years, they say. It seems the three years he spent in University education counts somewhat but he only contributed to the pension when working but just for one year nearly exactly before at the age of twenty two, he left the UK for other countries and settled in Spain.
At my mother's nursing home, at various time at least 3 homeless people were placed there (two men, one woman) and from what I could see, they seemed to adapt well enough to go to the dining room for their meals and not cause trouble when the orderlies would clean their rooms (the orderlies hated it -- who wouldn't?).
I assume that Spain works the same way as France for payment -- all of your revenue is analysed, and the amount to pay (or not) is calculated from there. However, children and grandchildren can be obliged to contribute some of the amount. (I'm an expert on that!)
(SIGH)...I wish I had the skill with words and the guts to have said things like that on the many occasions when dealing with Welfare, Child protection and other arms of the "Helping" professions.
Our directive was to build up the self esteem of the client so that they initiated the changes that needed to be made. Maybe one in 50 clients did...finally showing up at midnight to a women's Shelter for protection, but the rest just waited for someone else to wave a magic wand and everything would be lovely like on the TV soaps.
The phrase we used was that client, or other workers were suffering from "voluntary inertia" .It would have been marvellous to have Mark stir them up.
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]
"... build up the self esteem of the client so that they initiated the changes that needed to be made..." Yeah, my arse. In other words let them do the job for you, meaning the social services.
htmb, he is.
K2, I am wondering if they will get round to asking/telling me to contribute if he goes into a home. I will refuse and see how far they are prepared to go to come after me.
Regarding his apartment that has in it tenants refusing to leave - this asking them to leave thing happened before I came on the scene and I'm not sure why. My brother says it is so he can live there. If the authorities want to carry on through with this I'll leave them to it, but I'm not fighting for it. It seems the tenants are paying the rent and so for me, why get them out? Because if it is then empty he is in no fit state to live by himself anyway. So I'd leave them there and use the rent money as a contribution to his care. Simple enough and that cuts out the legal wrangling cost to evict them.
I see it in the regard that the state is a vast resource with a large budget. The impact on them of my brother is extremely minimal to their overall picture, yet the impact of their help on him is tremendous, lets say to them 0.01% (if that) and to my brother, 100%. So if in reality it is so small to them and so large to my brother, I have no qualms about throwing my weight around. Would I feel guilty and remorseful that someone else missed out and he took priority? No. What would you take me for, a social worker?
So not siblings then? But children and grandchildren? Children I can understand but grandchildren as opposed to siblings? What if the person had parents who are compos mentis and healthy, though old, they would be obligated as well?
By the time most people are old enough to get into a retirement home or a nursing home, often their children are at retirement age, too, but the grandchildren are working adults. However, they never request "full" participation to cover the expense (which is usually at least 100 euros a day in France and often more) but just a relatively minor percentage. When I determined that it was possible to stop paying for my mother's nursing home and get her on 'welfare' I think they requested something like 250 euros a month from me and 350 euros from my brother.
And yes, in many cases ascendants are as responsible as descendants for covering certain expenses (such as you can't disown your university age children even if you all hate each other) -- I think that goes up to age 25.
Getting in here late because I have been away. Mark, what you are saying about your dealing with the social services reminds me of that video on Youtube of a young woman trying to get her papers stamped for work and obstruction by Spanish authorities.
Anyway, I think you are doing it the right way by forcing them to take action. But, does your brother have Spanish citizenship? Will the Spanish authorities refuse to deal with your brother's case once Brexit happens at the end of the year?
Following your story still Mark - bravo , I hope one day your brother is well enough to realise how lucky he is to have you at his back. When my mum, my sis and me were fighting for my Dad to get treatment for his pancreatic cancer one doctor referred to us as the 3 Rottweiler's; we took that as a compliment even though it probably was not meant to be one.
bjd, he has Spanish citizenship. Brexit isn't a factor.
I went with the homeless shelter and my brother this morning to change over his doctor to one of theirs. The shelter closes on March 29th onwards until December 15th each year during the night and is only open during the day because the weather is better apparently. I've been told now by the social services there is another place he can go to to sleep. Things seem to be moving and in reality, there is little more I can do without treading on the toes of the shelter or the social services. So I'll break off from causing trouble for a few days and then see where we are.
Bureaucracy is a system that ignores the human element. The human element will trump any bureaucracy because they have the power over it, to enforce it, enforce some of it, none of it or whatever. They are inside the system and know how to manipulate/short cut/complicate the bureaucracy. So manipulate the human who is enforcing the bureaucracy to achieve your aim, this is what I work towards.
There are many ways to do that and permutations with different organisations and when I work up a TED talk on that I'll send you free tickets. However you can have the obvious Point 1 now.
Always be nice to the people who have no power at all, other than allowing you access to those with the power. They are often shit on and subject to abuse at some point every day. Especially if they are usually dealing with the public. Ask for help, e.g. the simple short sentence of a smile and "Can you help me?", don't demand, and play nice. You know this really without me saying so but it is so obvious but you sometimes can work yourself up into a stink, storm in somewhere and demand to see the manager. Never denigrate their position, never blame them for anything. If any blame is to be apportioned you either bear it on your own shoulders or blame it on the boss with power. Another magic sentence is, "I've made a mistake and I need help." It doesn't matter if you think it wasn't you who made the mistake, just say you did and hold your hands up - it is generally a basic, ingrained human reaction to help.
Anyway, carry on with whatever you were doing..........
Post by mickthecactus on Feb 14, 2020 17:58:34 GMT
Yes, all sensible stuff there.
I'm not great at defying authority whereas Mark with his police background knows all about authority so probably more confident.
Nevertheless I did have a row with a smart arse customs official in Dublin who more or less called me an idiot for having toothpaste or something in my hand luggage and I pointed out that I had gone through Gatwick with no problem so why the f... can't they all have the same standards. However I stopped when I could envisage being taken to a side room and an official starting to put on rubber gloves....
Mick, I've tried that but it never works, especially if it is in a different country with what they think are different standards. Just because you got let off for speeding once, you'd never expect to be let off another time.
While waiting to see a middle ranked officer I could hear through the closed door that a man was yelling at her and slamming books or something on a desk. I could hear his anger but not his words as he interrupted her every time she tried to speak. He finally stormed out past me and the woman came to the door and waved for me to come in.
My first words to her were, "You need a tea or coffee, where is the tea room?" She gave me a tearful smile and led me to the kitchen. We discussed our client and afterwards she thanked me for my understanding. We shared a good working relationship for years after that, so as Mark says, be nice to the little guys.
Remember..."Big fish have little fish upon their backs to bite 'em And little fish have smaller fish, so on...ad infinitum"
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]