A double-amputee felt like she was ‘waiting to die’ after waiting months for her house to be adapted.
Barbara Samuels, 76, has been waiting for her bungalow to be adapted since February, when she left hospital following her leg amputations last year.
After a story in the Gazette about her plight, she was given a temporary ramp. But she said she has fallen off it several times, including last Wednesday when she badly grazed her left knee.
She is calling for the adaptations to be done as soon as possible so she can move on with her life: “It makes me feel terrible. It makes you feel like you are just waiting to die.”
The diabetes sufferer said she worked hard to rebuild her health after the operation, and surprised doctors with her progress.
But when she returned home, she was unable to get in the bathroom due to her wheelchair and made a makeshift ramp out of a door so she could leave her house –but still struggled because the door was so narrow.
Barbara said several assessments have been done on her bungalow, and she has applied for a grant for the adaptations – but she does not know when the work will be completed.
She has to wash herself with a basin of water from the kitchen, and struggles to cook because the work surfaces are too high.
The retired caterer also regularly scratches her arms and thighs on her doorframes because they are too narrow.
Her friend Louisa Light, 65, comes twice a week to help her. She said: “I came in the other day and she was crying her eyes out. That isn’t my friend at all.”
Last Wednesday, Barbara fell off the ramp and spent an hour lying on the concrete in her garden while an ambulance came to help her. She said the paramedics commented on how the ramp and door is not wide enough.
A spokesman for housing association Places for People, which owns the house, said: “We are very sorry to hear that Ms Samuels is having difficulty with access in and out of her home.
“Access ramps and extensive adaptations to properties are normally provided by the local authority – in this case Arun District Council – and we are liaising with them on the progress of this work.”
Arun District Council said it was ‘sorry to hear’ about Barbara’s plight and would work to get her house adapted ‘as soon as possible’.
A spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear that Mrs Samuels has been experiencing problems with the temporary ramp, which we believe was provided by West Sussex County Council. We would encourage Mrs Samuels to speak with her occupational therapist about getting a more suitable ramp.”
They explained that Barbara has an agent to help apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant to fund the adaptations. The process takes around three weeks once the agent has provided the council with the paperwork. Potential start dates would be down to the availability of the contractor.
They added: “The property belongs to a housing association, not the council, and all agencies involved are working together to try to ensure the adaption can be delivered as quickly as possible.”