Woman in a wheelchair feels trapped in seniors' complex
Elevator broken for the last 2 months
A 76-year-old Nova Scotia woman with a broken hip says she hasn't been outside in two months because the elevator in the seniors' complex where she lives is broken.
Margie MacDougall, of Inverness, broke her hip last year and uses a wheelchair to get around. She feels confined on the second floor.
"When the elevator was up and running I used to take my wheelchair on it and go down and sit in the lobby with the people down there," she said.
"If it was a good day I'd ask one of them to push me out to the front so I could wheel around out there for a little bit, but right now it's going on two and a half months since I've seen the outside world."
MacDougall said every day, she checks the elevator to see if it's working. It's adorned with a sign that says, "Out of service. I'm really sorry," signed by an elevator mechanic named AJ.
MacDougall has made dozens of calls to politicians and housing officials.
"They kept telling me this day and that day and the next day and the other day and last week and this week so at the end of it I just wasn't believing any of it," she said.
"Makes me feel frustrated, very frustrated."
The Department of Community Services, which oversees the building, said the company contracted to maintain the elevator and fix the shaft didn't have the memory chip needed to finish the repairs.
That company had to contact the supplier that has the rights to the software, which was recently shipped to Dartmouth.
"This particular part is coming from Connecticut but my understanding is, then it was just an issue of getting that part and getting it here. I cannot explain why it would have taken so long," said Dan Troke, the executive director of housing with the Department of Community Services.
"It's certainly unacceptable that the timeline is this long but basically by pursuing the issue through both organizations we are getting the part here."
Last week, the Department of Community Services started staffing people during the day and on-call at night to help the seniors navigate the home's two flights of stairs.
"They're not as happy, they're certainly not as happy and we listen to that, we hear about it," said Ramona Miller, a homecare worker in the building.
"She's standing for the rest of them because there are different members in here that have the same disabilities and can't get out. There's more than one."
MacDougall said she missed a doctor's appointment because of the broken elevator and she refused to let four men carry her down the stairs.
"I had my pride and I wasn't being carried downstairs to get no doctor's appointment. How was I going to get back up? Drag me up again?" she said.
"I feel like crying, really I do. I feel alone."