First responders found her dead inside her home. She had been there for weeks.
The elderly woman lived alone off Gerome Place in New Hanover County. The unfortunate circumstances of her death serve as a reminder of how important it is to check on our older loved ones.
Law enforcement says these types of scenarios play out often in our area. A senior whose children live far away dies at home and until a neighbor gets suspicious or a relative fails to make contact, time passes until they are ultimately found.
Typically that's within a few days. In this woman's case, it took more than a month. According to the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, she passed away from natural causes.
Visiting Angels is an at-home senior support agency. They provide care ranging from hour-long visits to round-the-clock assistance. Some seniors only need help with medicine or getting in and out of the shower. Others need end-of-life care.
Jennifer Dorman manages the Wilmington office and recommends partnering with an at-home care agency when a senior begins to forget their medicine, water or food. Some of our area sheriff's offices also offer a free call service to make sure seniors are awake and alert every morning.
Dorman pointed out that many of us are not connected to our neighbors or community anymore. If you have an elderly neighbor, chances are you've noticed some of their habits. Do they get the paper every morning at 7? Head out for lunch at noon? Turn off the lights at 9?
Noticing any changes in behavior and having the courtesy to knock on the door to check in can sometimes save a life.