A grandson has pleaded for urgent government action after his grandmother has been forced to call emergency services more than 200 times just to get help leaving her apartment and getting downstairs.
Mahassan Faraj, 86, has been living in a public housing unit in Rockdale, NSW, for 20 years, but as her health has deteriorated in recent years, so has her ability to move and use stairs.
Speaking on Channel 9’s A Current Affair, her grandson has revealed she’s been left a prisoner in her own home as her repeated calls to be moved to the ground floor have seemingly been ignored for the last seven years.
Mahassan suffers from chronic diabetes, has undergone a recent hip replacement, and has ongoing knee problems. It means she needs to be carried down stairs by a team of paramedics when she needs to leave her apartment.
“It’s screams and cries, she doesn’t want to go down… she just wants to die,” her grandson Alex told the show.
Shockingly, he estimated the family have had to call emergency services more than 200 times to assist his gran since her health declined – something he admitted they were all too aware was a waste of resources.
Alex claimed the family have been requesting a ground floor apartment through the NSW Housing Department for seven years.
“It’s always, ‘you’re on top of the list’, it’s always ‘you’re on top of the list’,” he said. “God help the people under the list, they’re gone basically.”
He claimed the ground floor apartment in his gran’s own block recently became available, but they were even overlooked for that.
“You could understand if it could take some months, but for it to have taken years and years, and that kind of response is misinformed and arrogant,” Council on the Ageing chief executive Ian Yates told the show.
“If I were emergency services in New South Wales, I’d be sending the housing department a bill every time they have to do that.”
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Communities and Justice told A Current Affair they are urgently seeking alternative housing for her now.
“The Department has apologised to Ms Faraj and will work closely with her and her family to locate suitable permanent accommodation as quickly as possible,” the spokesman reportedly said.
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