that's life (Australia)
My needy neighbour
Honesty is the best policy. You need to tell her how you feel. She’s a neighbour and shouldn’t be a burden on you. Hopefully, she appreciates your honesty and you can remain friends. If not, let her be a leech on someone else.
Spend quality time
Let her know you will be free to spend quality time with her to chat, have coffee, maybe a wine at the club, if she goes to her GP first. They can do an assessment. There are services that can assist with her daily needs. Then you can concentrate on being friendly neighbours, which is very rare these days.
Gently step back by letting her know you aren’t available with smaller stuff, first. You can gauge her reaction and hopefully avoid a falling out. Just say ‘sorry I can’t this time’. If you have to tell her a white lie, keep it simple. Something like ‘sorry I have plans’ – could be to relax in your PJs and read a book.
Put your coat by the front door. When she knocks, put it on and tell her you’re going to a friend’s place or anywhere she can’t go.
She can get a taxi
The thing to do is tell her you can only help her a couple of days a week. If she rings from the club, don’t answer. She can get a taxi home, like everyone else.
Did you offer?
Did you offer these services in the beginning? Maybe just tell her you’re busy, or tell her the days you’re available to help, but on other days, you have stuff of your own to do.
Bless your beautiful heart. Prioritise your own priorities. Say no in a nice way. Oldies can be sensitive and you still want to be friends with her.
Remove the burden
She may have been rebuffed by family before so stopped asking them for help and only feels she has you to count on. Don’t step away, but get her some help to take the burden off you. The only thing you may have to do is pick her up from the club and have cuppas.
Show you care
Maybe talk to her about going to see a doctor and find out what help there is for her. She will know that you still care and want to help but need your own time too.
Chat to her family
What a wonderful, caring friend you are... you need to let her know that you have your own errands, too. Maybe have a chat with her family to get them to chip in.