herald

Sunday 11 December 2016

Gran who waited three years for ramp hospitalised after steps fall

Anne is being treated after a fall on the steps of her home
Anne is being treated after a fall on the steps of her home

A 79-year-old grandmother was hospitalised because of a fall after waiting years for a ramp to be installed at the steps into her home in Dolphin's Barn.

Anne Cooke fell on the steps while trying to leave her home, with the help of her daughter.

She is still being treated in St James's Hospital for the severe bruising and the open wound on her leg she suffered on October 17.

The mum of 11 has been living in a Dolphin House apartment since 2012. Ms Cooke agreed to move into the unit on the understanding that a shower unit and a ramp would be installed "within weeks" her family said.

However, Dublin City Council (DCC) informed her last year that installing a ramp was not possible due to the placement of a drain outside the flat.

Transfer

Ms Cooke then applied for a transfer to a new home but has not yet been granted one.

"She has lived in Dolphin House her whole life, she is known in the area and she is so old-school and independent ... she won't go anywhere else," her granddaughter Lesley O'Reilly explained.

Her neighbours often check in with Ms Cooke - who is due to turn 80 in March - to ensure that she is keeping well or to get messages from the shops for her.

Due to a wheeled walking aid, Ms Cooke cannot leave her home without help because of the three steps leading to her front door.

"[The fall] has put the fear of God in her, she is nervous on her feet now and she is terrified she'll have another fall.

"She has worked hard all her life, she should be treated with respect," her granddaughter said.

Her current situation was a "disgrace" she added.

Ms Cooke decided to go public with her story in the hope that it will help other elderly people who may be in a similar situation.

It was 2014 before Ms Cooke's bath was replaced with an accessible shower unit, under funding from DCC's adaptions unit.

During the two years she was waiting, she was forced to shower in a Rialto day centre for elderly people or in one of her grandchildren's houses if there was no day staff available to assist her.

Independent

Prior to moving back to Dolphin House Ms Cooke lived for six months in an independent living facility but she couldn't settle there, having lived in the southside complex since the sixties.

"She felt very isolated there. In Dolphin House if she doesn't turn up to bingo someone will send a car around to check that she is OK. There is a great sense of community there," Ms O'Reilly said.

As she recovers in hospital, Ms Cooke's family say that they don't know what will happen when she is discharged. In the short-term she will most likely stay with her granddaughter who can look after her but they are keen that her wishes to live alone are respected.

DCC said they could not comment on individual cases when contacted by the Herald.

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