Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence


  I can tell you from my personal experience about the difference that help with housing problems can make to the lives of people like me.

  I came to England from Jamaica in 1963 and trained to become a cook with the London Bus Company. I am 71 now and I have lived in my small townhouse in Hackney for over 30 years. My Kitchen and toilet are the only rooms on the ground floor.

  After a stroke this year I could only go home from hospital because my bed was brought down to the Kitchen. The carpet on the floor was old and frayed and I kept falling. I couldn't go upstairs to my living room bathroom and bedroom except by crawling there and then I fell. I had a bath once a week when my daughter took me to her home in Dagenham.

  I was so upset that I might have to leave the home I loved so much.

  All that worry has gone now with the help of Peter, the caseworker from the Hospital Discharge Project. He got me a grant for a new carpet downstairs and handrails and then arranged with social services for a stair lift and walk-in shower to be fitted.

  Now I can wash whenever I want and sleep in my own bedroom.

  Peter also discovered that I wasn't getting my rightful benefits and when I claimed them my weekly income went up by £78 per week and I no longer have to pay council tax. You cannot imagine the difference that has made to me. I was then put in touch with Sharp End Centre* where I go for exercise and some company.

  My home is so important to me and I want to stay here for as long as I can. I feel so comfortable that I have someone like Peter and my home care worker alongside me.

  I hope that other people like me wherever they live also will be able to get this help because I know how much has it has meant to my life.

  by Mrs Evelyn Wood, about her experience of Hackney Staying Put Hospital Discharge Service

  *Sharp End was one of the first Healthy Living Centres and provides exercise, alternative therapies and counselling for older people.

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