39-year old mother of three Lucy Ashen has been living in her London apartment for 21 years. She knows that her elderly neighbor of seventy and something lives all alone, doesn’t have anyone to take care of her and has completely isolated herself. Plus, the woman has a mental illness. Lucy has tried numerous times to invite herself in just to check on her neighbor without success. Then she finally gained her trust and the woman let her in. Lucy was in a state of shock after seeing her apartment.
“I have lived in Fulham all my life, and I’ve been in the part I am now for 21 years…..and I have an elderly neighbor. She lives on her own in a one bedroom flat and she has mental health issues. For legal reasons I am not allowed to name her, so I will call her My Lady, she calls me Lucy Locket.”
“Up until 10 days ago this lady was living in indescribable filth and squalor. There was no food, filthy clothes, nobody to help her bathe, and just never ending loneliness and despair.”
“I had tried on numerous occasions over the last few years to gain access to her property to help her, as I knew she was living in less than acceptable conditions, I just didn’t realize how bad.”
“What I saw when she finally let me in will stay with me forever!”
“It was horrific! NOBODY should live like it!”
“So without stopping to think, I gutted her house! I mean everything went down to the toilet seat.”
“I knew I needed help at this point, so without thinking too much of it I put a post on Facebook asking for help along with a list of what she needed.”
“I could not have dreamt what would happen next! The response has been overwhelming! I had around 80% of the list within 24 hours! The offers of help, the donations of goods and the beautiful messages of support still continue and it has astounded me.”
“It took me over 60 hours of cleaning to get her flat to an acceptable level for her to live in and 11 days on I’m still not finished!”
“But with the kindness and generosity of the people who donated items I have been able to turn her house into a home.”
“She has everything she could need, a bed to sleep in (she was sleeping on the floor) good clean furniture, fresh new bedding, beautiful new clothes, three meals a day, and most importantly company.”
“She truly has been saved from a lonely and degrading life, she has been given her dignity back and I intend for her to live out the rest of her life in comfort and surrounded by love.”
“On the Monday I gave My Lady her first bath in 13 years!…….prior to that she had only washed her face and cleaned her teeth in the kitchen sink. She was so unsteady on her feet that she could not possibly have accessed the bath or shower for herself. When I told her I was going to give her a bath she said, ‘I’m not sure about that, I think I might be too scared, I might fall’ I said to her, ‘That is why I am here now, to help you. You don’t have to be scared anymore.’”
“My 14 year old daughter Ruby was amazing! She would sit and watch TV with her and talk to her for hours while I was cleaning. She would brush her hair, and help her to get dressed, she even introduced her to Snapchat! Ruby gave up the last week of her Summer Holidays to keep My Lady company while I cleaned. On seeing the terrible state My Lady was in, Ruby became just as determined as me to change things for her, she showed so much strength and compassion for someone so young. I honestly do not think Our Lady would be at the stage she is now without you giving up all of your time for her. I know she loves you to bits, she asks about you every day now and I explain that you have gone back to school, but when you come into see her in the evening her face lights up, she loves it!”
“People were so rightly concerned for her welfare and offered wonderful advice, so I would like to keep them updated on the progress of her care moving forward.”
“The idea is to try to give something back. To say thank you. It is impossible for me to mention people individually for what they have done, there are too many of you!”
“But I will be posting pictures and updating when I can just to show everyone how far we’ve come and what can be achieved through kindness, generosity, community spirit and most importantly love.”
“…But this story’s bigger than me doing something for her. It’s about mental health and looking after elderly people. There must be thousands more people like her who are lonely, hungry and can’t quite look after themselves but who don’t know where to go for support, which is heartbreaking.”
The transformation over the last two weeks not only took place inside her home, but also in “My Lady” herself. She became more talkative and began singing and dancing.
Lucy is now planning to take her new friends on trips to the seaside and organize other outings.