'I am trapped,’ Kelowna senior says of temporary elevator shutdown

Sylvia MacKenzie suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

As a result, the Kelowna senior relies on a wheelchair to get around, as she’s too short of breath to walk.

“Even for me, to walk to the kitchen will take a lot out of me,” she told Global News.

MacKenzie, 75, lives in a top-floor unit of a three-storey building on KLO Road.

Starting on Monday, the building’s elevator will be shut down for three days, meaning MacKenzie won’t be able to leave her home.

“I am trapped, I am trapped,” she said.

What has her most concerned is a scheduled monthly hospital appointment during that time. She says the appointment is critical to her health.

“It has to be every 28 days, so there is no way that I can change that appointment,” she said.

MacKenzie’s friend, Maria Leboe, said she’s concerned about MacKenzie and all the other seniors who live in the building.

“Although this isn’t a seniors building, there are a lot of seniors with mobility issues that live here,” Leboe said.

“There’s a lot of people just on this floor alone who have walkers and scooters.”

Ellen Hassell lives down the hall. Her husband, who has a walker, has dementia and relies heavily on a day program he attends during the week.

“We don’t know what we will be able to do,” Hassell said. “I have called several places and no one seems to have any answers or any suggestions of what we should do.”

Leboe said she’s called several places, including the fire department and ambulance service, but was told to contact a stretcher transport service.

She did and while she’s still waiting for confirmation, she was told by the receptionist that they likely can’t accommodate that many stairs.

Mackenzie, who’s on a fixed income, has reached out to the building’s strata council to see if it could help with getting her down and back up the stairs.

“Would they pay if I found something privately? Would they pay for that?” she wondered.

The building is managed by Associated Property Management. The manager told Global News that the strata is willing to pay for the costs, but that neither the strata nor the company has received any cost estimates in writing.

The company also said that residents were told about the elevator shutdown on July 23, but that strata was only notified of the medical appointment on Aug. 12.

While MacKenzie said she’s stressed about the situation and the medical appointment, she’s still hoping a solution can be found.

“I understand their predicament, but there must be some way like how have other buildings dealt with this,” she said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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