...By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
The recent discovery of Robert Alton, a man who had been deceased for six years, in his home has shed light on the alarming situation faced by many elderly individuals who live alone, without anyone caring enough to check on them.
Mr. Alton, aged 76, was found in his flat on March 9, only after his landlord obtained a court order to enter the property and inspect the gas supply.
The heartbreaking story of Robert Alton underscores the stark reality faced by countless elderly people who live in isolation, with no one to look out for them.
An inquest revealed that Mr. Alton likely passed away in 2017, and the CEO of Bolton at Home housing association, Noel Sharpe, expressed their deep concern, stating that such a situation is entirely unacceptable.
When authorities finally gained access to Mr. Alton’s home, they found a pile of unopened mail at the door, along with a newspaper from 2017 and a television guide dated May 4 of the same year.
This discovery has left residents in his street shocked, questioning how such a tragic event could occur in an otherwise ordinary neighborhood.
Local councillor Linda Thomas expressed her devastation, emphasizing the distressing nature of someone dying alone.
She also highlighted the importance of regularly checking on neighbors, underscoring the significance of human connection and support.
Neighbours of Mr. Alton described him as a well-spoken gentleman, but unfortunately, they had limited interactions with him.
Some residents shared their lack of knowledge about their immediate neighbors, explaining that greetings were exchanged but little more.
The absence of close community ties was evident as one person mentioned living in the area since the 1970s without knowing the neighbors well.
Bolton at Home, responsible for managing the housing, acknowledged their failures in ensuring Mr. Alton’s well-being.
The housing association apologized for missed opportunities to investigate his lack of response and attributed the delay in discovering his death to insufficient procedures.
Chief executive officer Noel Sharpe admitted that more should have been done to check on Mr. Alton’s welfare, acknowledging the need for stronger protocols.
Following the incident, Bolton at Home implemented policy changes to prevent similar occurrences.
As of July 2022, legal warrants are now sought to gain access to tenants’ homes when attempts to contact them fail, specifically for gas safety checks.
It was this revised procedure that eventually led to the discovery of Mr. Alton’s body, according to the inquest.
The tragic case of Robert Alton, found deceased in his home six years after his passing, highlights the distressing circumstances faced by many elderly individuals who live in isolation.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of community engagement and support for the well-being of vulnerable neighbors.
The response from Bolton at Home acknowledges their shortcomings and the urgent need for improved procedures to ensure the safety and welfare of their tenants.
This unfortunate event should prompt society to reflect on the care and attention we give to those who may be living alone and isolated, emphasizing the significance of community connections and regular check-ins to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.