Oakworth woman says her mother is a “prisoner in her own home”

Keighley News: Thelma Franks and her daughter, Julia Smith, highlight the steps that have left the  pensioner a “prisoner in her own home” Thelma Franks and her daughter, Julia Smith, highlight the steps that have left the pensioner a “prisoner in her own home”

An Oakworth woman says her 74-year-old mother is a “prisoner in her own home” because of delays in carrying out badly-needed adaptations.

Julia Smith said her mum, Thelma Franks, survived a stroke in February 2012 and was able to return to her Riddlesden home last October, despite being paralysed down her left side.

She uses a wheelchair and cannot get outside by herself because of two steps outside her front door, or go upstairs for a shower. She currently has to be washed by her carers using a bowl of water from a downstairs sink.

Bradford Council’s adaptations team was meant to fix the problem within three months of her moving home. But five months on and nothing has been done.

Mrs Smith explained she could understand why it may take time for Bradford Council to carry out the work, but cannot understand why Social Services has not tried to find an interim solution.

She said: “My mum is a prisoner in her own home.

“She can’t go upstairs, and is desperate to get out of the house, and also to have a shower.

“She’s totally housebound due to the two steps at her door. She requires two people to lift her wheelchair in and out.

“Unfortunately, I cannot do this as I have a shoulder problem. One day we got so desperate I dragged a pine door down from upstairs and made a makeshift ramp.”

Mrs Smith, 53, who has been fighting the case with her brother, Jez Franks, stressed her mother’s carers do a “fantastic” job, but the logistics involved mean they are unable to help her shower.

She added: “Once mum was sent home, any contact from Social Services stopped, and I appear to be unable to get a response from them about our plight.”

A Bradford Council spokesman said: “We sympathise with Mrs Franks and appreciate her need to get in and out of the house safely and independently.

“We would always consider using a temporary ramp, or funding simple ramps where there is only one step, but in this case the layout of the entrance has made this impossible, and the ramp is likely to have to be extensive, requiring Disabled Facilities Grant funding, which does take longer.

“We are working with the family to ensure the process of obtaining the funding and getting the work done is carried out as quickly as possible.”

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