When you look at the photo of Grace Elizabeth Shaw shortly before she died, so frail and helpless at the great age of 105, all your instincts make you want to protect and look after her.
So it must have been truly heartbreaking for her family to find that she’d been living in unsatisfactory conditions when they visited her sheltered accommodation after her death. According to her granddaughter there were mouse droppings and her bed sheets had been gnawed at. Her fridge had mouldy and out of date food in it, the place was covered in dust and there were bin bags of rubbish in her bathroom.
Carewatch Lewisham, which employed her carers, disputes that there were mice and insists the toilet was cleaned and rooms left tidy, but accepts that the carers could have been more attentive. It’s extraordinary though that the company attempts to justify some of the care by saying that Grace had chosen to live in her sitting room. That doesn’t mean that rooms should be allowed to go uncleaned, or be used as places to store rubbish.