Sunderland grandmother claims she is a ‘prisoner in her own home’

Housebound Janet Abbott is angry over access plans on her home. Pictured with husband Joseph Abbott

Housebound Janet Abbott is angry over access plans on her home. Pictured with husband Joseph Abbott

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A disabled woman says she is a prisoner in her own home after claiming housing officers did a U-turn on plans to make adaptations.

For almost a year, Janet Abbott, 58, has lived in a specialised hospital bed in the living room of her home, while she waited for alterations to the Gentoo property.

Janet Abbott and husband Joe. The couple says the council has "done a U turn" over plans to adapt their home.

Janet Abbott and husband Joe. The couple says the council has "done a U turn" over plans to adapt their home.

Her life was turned upside down in December 2014 when she suffered a stroke, losing the use of her right leg, then three months later the front half of her left foot had to be amputated due to horrendous complications from diabetes.

Janet and her husband Joe, 56, say they were told last year that a wheelchair lift would be installed at their home in Blossom Street, Hetton, and a ramp put to the front door.

They were even taken to look at the lifts and a surveyor came out in October to measure up and explained the lift would go up through the dining room into the spare bedroom.

But, just days ago housing officials dealt the bitter blow that work would not be done and the couple’s only option was to move to a bungalow in another village.

Heartbroken Janet, who used to work as a cleaner at Kepier Academy, in Houghton, said: “It’s not fair, they have just gone back on their word after all these months.

“I have had to live on this bed, eat, sleep and go to the toilet. I have lost five and a half stone in weight.

“When I came out of hospital from having my toes amputated, I felt like there was a brick wall in front of me because my life had been devastated. I was slowly knocking holes in that wall, but now they have built it right back up again.”

The couple, who have five children and six grandchildren, have lived in their current home for seven years and are very happy there.

But Janet said that both she and Joe, who also suffers from ill health including arthritis and the lung condition COPD, are in no fit state to deal with the upheaval of moving.

Joe said: “It has been really hard for us. If they would even put in a stairlift that would be a big help.”

The couple also claimed they were told they wouldn’t be given permission for the stairlift even if they were to pay for it themselves.

Coun Graeme Miller, portfolio holder for Health, Housing and Adult Services at Sunderland City Council, said: “We work closely with our housing and social care partners to meet individual households’ specific accommodation needs wherever we can.

“A panel made up of representatives from Gentoo, Sunderland Care and Support and the City Council’s occupational therapy team are meeting next week to discuss this individual case.

“Given the financial constraints we are all working under, we have to explore all possible housing options for the families concerned from the properties and funding available.

“When alternative accommodation (which in this case is a bungalow) is available within the local community which meets the physical and housing needs of people with mobility issues, then that would be the first option.”