Jul 20, 2017

Could Neighbourly Care have Prevented an Elderly Couple Dying Alone?

Anne and Geoffrey Iddon were a married couple living in Palm Beach. They were in their eighties and were “together all the time” according to neighbours.

Sadly, the couple were found dead in their home earlier this week. Police were called to the couple’s house shortly before 9am on Tuesday after friends informed the police that they hadn’t heard from them in a while.

Anne was blind and had other disabilities that required her husband, Geoffrey, to be her full time carer.

What appears to have happened was that Geoffrey died of natural causes, and without his support or care, Anne died alone a few days later.

It’s believed that the Iddons may have been dead inside their home for two to three weeks before they were found.

How did this couple die alone without anyone knowing?

Anne and Geoffrey Iddon were described as well off, fiercely independent and, unfortunately, very isolated.

It appears that they may have had little to no family – no one was checking up on them.

Their neighbours claim that they tried to offer them support, but couple rejected all overtures.

This can be common with elderly neighbours, as they wish to maintain their independence, fearing that people will take their choice from them.

“The couple consistently refused aged-care assistance and medical support but were coping with their challenges. Closest next of kin lived overseas,” Superintendent Dave Darcy told reporters.  

“While we believe there are no suspicious circumstances, this is an opportunity to reflect on this tragedy and think about our elderly parents and neighbours and what we can do as a community and as individuals to prevent a recurrence of this terrible event.”

“If you are concerned about a neighbour who you haven’t seen, knock on their door or give us [the police] a ring.”

“We are more than happy to check on the welfare of the elderly.”

On Facebook, Police on Sydney’s Northern Beaches posted a plea urging communities to look out more for their elderly neighbours.  

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 1.10.43 pm

“Life is a team game,” it read – reminding us that no one should be cut off and isolated in the community.

“So just for 20 minutes, time to put down those iPhones and iPads, and hold back the selfies and making friends with people you don’t know, and have a real conversation with your elderly neighbour who is living a simple life devoid of all electronic gadgets that contribute little to real community cohesion.”

Community should be about being there for each other – espeically the eldelry. By getting to know your neighbours, simply being there for them – you could just save a life.

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  1. This is no ‘tragedy’. It is a situation this couple chose. It seems they went the way they wanted to go – together, without interference, meddling and people who may have thought ‘they knew better’. If this couple had assistance offered which was declined because they were ‘fiercely independent’, then surely that was their wish. None of us can judge or put a value on that. They had obviously lived and died the way they planned. Imagine if the police had been rung after he had died and she was still alive? How awful for her to be taken to a hospital on her own – for what? treatment? placement? Possibly her worst nightmare. This is a story of love and commitment. I commend them both. RIP.


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