Broken elevator traps Lethbridge seniors inside their own homes
Published Tuesday, May 21, 2019 5:11PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 21, 2019 8:56PM MDT
After a critical piece of infrastructure in a southern Alberta seniors complex broke down earlier this year, residents who’ve been struggling ever since were shocked when they were told it would be about two months before it would be fixed.
The Cedar Creek assisted living facility, managed by Adaptacare, has just under 40 residents living in the building, with 18 of those seniors on the second floor.
Back in February, the building’s only elevator broke down, cutting off a vital link for the residents to get out and about in their community.
The situation has left many of the building’s residents feeling completely isolated.
“There’s a lot of stress here because nobody can go out,” said one 79-year-old resident who is legally blind and suffers mobility issues from an ankle injury. “It’s kind of nerve-wracking when you can’t do nothing, you know. We want to do something.”
The woman, who didn’t want her name used, told CTV News she was advised by her doctor to avoid using stairs for her own health.
Sharon Penton, one the building’s managers, says when the elevator first broke down, they were originally told the repairs would only take four to six weeks to complete.
However, a closer inspection discovered the whole system needed a complete overhaul to bring it up to modern standards.
The equipment to fix the elevator is on order, but Penton says once they arrive, it will be another six weeks for the work to be done.
She says they’ve looked into other options, like installing a lift on the stairs, but that won’t be much quicker to install.
“It would take them six weeks - they said to do it and put it in, [but] they'd both end up being done about the same time.”
Now, concerned residents are left waiting until the fix is completed and that means missing out on walks, going to church, voting in the provincial election and even personal visits.
“This one little lady, she's crippled and wants to come to see her sister. Well, how can she get there when she can't get up the stairs?”
Adaptacare says the situation has been difficult on staff too because they’ve had to assist residents down the stairs to attend doctor’s appointments and have to carry meals up to the second floor three times a day.
The province says inspectors regularly visit all seniors facilities in Alberta to inspect them and check for compliance with building codes.
Alberta Health Services told CTV News there is a non-compliance order in place at Cedar Creek and Adaptacare has been ordered to provide information on when the elevator will be repaired.
(With files from CTV Lethbridge’s Terry Vogt)