AN ELDERLY Southampton woman living in council-run housing died of malnutrition and dementia, an inquest heard.

June Rose Ripley, of Avington Court, Winchester Road, Bassett, passed away at Southampton General Hospital on January 6.

The 87-year-old had been conscious on admission and was able to tell medical staff her details but later passed away.

A post-mortem said the preliminary causes of death were malnutrition, self-neglect and dementia.

Avington Court is supported housing for the elderly run by Southampton City Council.

Supported housing enables residents aged 50 and over to live independently in their own homes, with their own front doors.

Residents benefit from as much flexibility as they want and the support received can increase or decrease depending on their needs.

A Southampton City Council spokesperson said: “We offer our sincere condolences to Mrs Ripley’s family and friends at this time.

"Out of respect, we can’t offer any further comment.”

Dietician Annemarie Aburrow, who works at Wessex Academic Health Science Network, has launched a nutrition wheel which can identify people who are malnourished.

She said: "I came up with the idea as there is no other way to identify people who are malnourished if they are not accessing traditional social care.

"It is a piece of card that asks four questions, which leads to further questions depending on their answers, such as if someone is having difficulty getting to the shops or living alone. Then the questions lead to advice and signposting, for example, someone concerned with getting to the shops and living alone could be referred to Age UK and advised to have their family and friends help them with meal times."

Dementia campaigner Katherine Barbour, who runs Portswood Dementia Action group, has also given advice on where people suffering with dementia can turn.

Katherine Barbour said: "Going to a GP is the first line of resource for anybody living with this. They can also go to Age Concern, who provide befriending and low level support, while Communicare befriends people with dementia and visit people coming out of hospital.

She also previously worked on the healthy eating team at Wessex Academic Health Science Network.

She added: "Malnutrition is a much, much bigger problem in the elderly than obesity. If you had stopped eating, you may still be going to the shop to get a pint of milk. Shopkeepers could raise a concern. Neighbours and churches could also help. If you haven't seen your neighbour for a few days, you could knock and check if they are alright."

Area coroner Jason Pegg adjourned proceedings with the hearing to be resumed in Winchester on June 22.