ELDERLY people were left feeling stranded when the panic buttons in their homes stopped working.
The buttons at John Taylor Court, in Southwick, were installed in case of emergency, but the fault was not fixed for more than a week.
“I think it’s an absolute disgrace,” said Margaret Taylor, 61, who lives there with husband John, 65, who has a nerve degeneration disorder.
“My husband fell last week and I had to try and struggle to pick him up.
“The elderly and disabled residents are being treated terribly here.
“We had no way of getting in touch with anyone and they were broken for a week.
“We didn’t even have any phones as well.
“Some people here don’t have a mobile phone, so the panic buttons are their lifeline.”
She added: “I’m really angry because if I were to have another stroke my husband would not be able to help me.
“I would just not want to see anyone else in the same situation.”
Alison Macpherson, 53, who lives at John Taylor Court with partner David Garbatt, 46, said: “It’s absolutely disgusting.
“My partner is a wheelchair user and the buttons are very important to us.
“I am recovering from breast cancer and I also care for my parents as well as David.
“My mum has dementia and my father is deaf so he can’t use a phone.”
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “All Telecare equipment administered by Sunderland City Council is regularly checked and maintained.
“The council has no responsibility for customers’ personal telephony and land lines.
“Our technical team were aware that the BT lines at John Taylor Court were down, when one of the residents rang to inform us that their BT landlines were not working.
“We looked on our database at all the residents potentially affected and identified two customers who were particularly vulnerable.
“We visited these customers and offered them a piece of equipment which works like a mobile phone and does not rely on a landline.
“However, the customers declined that option.
“We were informed that all other residents were using personal mobile phones to make calls, until BT could restore the service to them.”