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‘Utterly heartbreaking’ as disabled Fife OAP needs fireman’s lift just to access her home

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The family of a disabled Fife pensioner, who has to rely on a “fireman’s lift” up and down two flights of stairs just to get access her home, have made a last-ditch bid to get her rehoused.

Tracey Kerwin, whose mother, Janet Fotheringham, has lived in a council flat in Gilfillan Road, Dunfermline for more than 40 years,  posted on social media the shocking image of her mother being carried over a man’s shoulder  in a drastic attempt to end a two-year stalemate with housing officers.

The picture Tracey posted on social media of her mum needing a fireman’s lift.

“It’s utterly heartbreaking to see my mum having to go through this,” said, daughter Tracey Kerwin.

“My mum no longer has the strength in her legs to climb the 16 steps up to her home, which has made her a prisoner in her own home.

“Until my son moved into the property to help get her up and down the stairs and care for her, there have been times when she has been unable to leave home for three or four weeks at a time.

“Her lack of mobility now means that she is no longer able to have a shower, which my mum is finding particularly upsetting.”

Tracey Kerwin at the stairwell her disabled mother now needs to be carried up and down in order to get in and out of her home.

Tracey said they had finally got the offer of a ground floor flat in the Townhill area of Dunfermline, only for it to be rejected after they had visited it as it was deemed unsuitable because the bathroom needed to be adapted.

“This has been going too long and the mental stress it’s now beginning to take its toll.

“My mum is so distraught and now fears she’ll die before being found a new home.

“No one should have to see their loved one go through that torment that’s why posting up the picture of my mum on Twitter was the last resort in trying to get this sorted once and for all.”

Housing officers informed Mrs Kerwin there are more than 2,100 people currently waiting for a council property in the Dunfermline, Cowdenbeath and Cossgates area and the local authority housing stock amounts to just 212.

In response to Mrs Fotheringham’s request, Alison Mitchell, lead officer, housing access and advice, said: “We took Mrs Fotheringham to view a vacant property, but an on-site assessment found that she would still have problems independently accessing that home.  The bathroom facilities were also unsuitable for her.

“Finding the right housing for Mrs Fotheringham has taken longer that we would have liked because of the type of accommodation the family are requesting.

“Ground floor, two bedroom properties are in high demand in their area of choice.

“We will continue to work with the family to try and find suitable accommodation for her and her grandson.”

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