British Columbia

'It's miserable': Winter weather woes keep active 81-year-old stuck in Burnaby home for weeks

Fatma Chhabra normally keeps a busy schedule, but since snow and ice hit the region about a month ago, the 81-year-old says she's only been able to leave her home a few times and never on her own.

'I'm scared to slip or fall down and hurt myself because I live alone,' says Fatma Chhabra

Eighty-one-year-old Burnaby woman Fatma Chhabra says she has barely left her home since snow and ice gripped the region about a month ago. (Michelle Eliot/CBC)

Weeks of treacherous winter conditions have been trying for many South Coast residents, but for seniors, the weather can be almost imprisoning.

For example 81-year-old Fatma Chhabra has barely left her home in the last month. 

She lives in an apartment building near Metrotown in Burnaby, B.C., and she says ice and snow on the ground make it almost impossible for her to get anywhere.

"It's very, very hard to walk," she told On The Coast's Michelle Eliot. "I'm scared to slip or fall down and hurt myself because I live alone."

She says she has only been able to leave her apartment four times: once to visit her doctor, twice to go to her mosque and once for a dinner out.

Her son had to help her all four of those times, and she relies on him to visit, three times a week, to keep her company and bring her groceries.

'I'm stuck. Really stuck'

Normally, Chhabra has a very busy schedule.

She goes out to the community centre, she visits friends, she exercises and goes out for coffee.

Now, about the only exercise she gets is going up and down the stairs of her apartment building for her laundry.

"My neighbour must wonder why [my] door is opened and closed every few minutes, because I just poke around and come back," she said. "It's miserable. Very, very miserable."

Chhabra says she's had to cancel four appointments so far, and she'd like to go out and get her hair done, not to mention see her friends.

But for now?

"I'm stuck. Really stuck."

With files from Michelle Eliot and CBC Radio One's On The Coast

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Active Burnaby senior stuck at home for almost a month because of weather