MS sufferer says she's a poor fit for a seniors' residence
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
By Beverley Ware
The Daily News
Helen Corbin lies semi-prone in an easy chair, her paralysed right arm resting on a pillow and her feet propped up. The 59-year-old has multiple sclerosis, which has left her confined to a wheelchair. But her apartment is so inadequate, “I can’t even wash my face in the sink,” she said.
Corbin and her husband, Ralph, 42, say they live in seniors public housing in the north end of Halifax because there’s nowhere else to put them.
They can’t afford anything else, and were moved from another seniors manor seven months ago because that was even more difficult for Corbin to get around.
“A seniors’ home is not the proper place for the disabled or handicapped,” Ralph Corbin said.
“There’s nothing out there for disabled people, all you get is a seniors home.”
Besides not meeting his wife’s physical needs, Corbin said they just don’t feel that they belong in seniors’ housing.
“We don’t want to be in a seniors’ home. We’re not comfortable; we’ve got nobody to talk to.
“We don’t belong in here — it’s for seniors.”
The couple used to live in Gordon B. Isnor on Cornwallis Street. There was no shower, and the tub was too difficult for Helen to negotiate.
They now live in Dr. S. Prince Manor on Novalea Drive.
Helen can’t get her wheelchair into the bedroom, the fit is so tight coming through the apartment door that she bangs the walls, and she can’t manoeuvre her wheelchair in the small bathroom to wash or brush her teeth.
Her husband literally has to tip her from her wheelchair into the shower.
She can’t use the kitchen, and she can only open the fridge part way because of the space her chair takes up in the small room.
As well, the apartment door is too heavy for her to open with one hand, and she can’t get her wheelchair through the small space alone.
T.S. Murray, the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit, has even written a letter on the couple’s behalf, saying the Corbins need more appropriate housing, as has their doctor at the North End Community Health Centre.
NDP community services critic Maureen MacDonald told The Daily News there is a lack of affordable public-housing for people with special needs and addictions. She said the public housing situation in Nova Scotia is a disgrace.
“It’s totally deficient and neglected.”
Seniors at four different manors complained last week that people with
addictions and physical and mental problems live in seniors’ housing, which
doesn’t meet their needs.
© Copyright 2002 The Daily News