Disabled husband could be confined to armchair

Neil Aldous
Neil Aldous
Share this article
Have your say

A HUSBAND faces being confined to a reclining armchair because of a lack of suitable disabled housing in Bury St Edmunds.

Neil Aldous has been in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, since he was involved in a motorbike accident in Westley Lane, on the way home from work at Calor Gas, back in March.

Neil and Carol Aldous

Neil and Carol Aldous

At the time he was given just a 10 per cent chance of survival.

“Even now the hospital say they don’t know how he survived,” said his wife Carol.

The accident meant that Neil had to have his left leg amputated at the hip.

He also suffered multiple other injuries including broken ribs, a punctured lung, damage to his pelvis, spleen and kidneys, and a broken wrist. Doctors pumped 81 pints of blood into his body as they battled to save him.

RTC on Westley Lane

RTC on Westley Lane

Neil, 45, is due to have an operation to repair nerves in his left arm on July 27 – he is then due to return home.

Medics have said that he is likely to spend 90 per cent of his time in a wheelchair.

The trouble is that Carol, her two teenage children James, 13, and Laura, 15, live in a narrow house in Tayfen Road, owned by Orwell Housing.

Carol, 53, says she has been trying since early April to get rehoused, without success.

An occupational therapist has advised that she gets rid of her chairs so Neil can sit in his wheelchair in the front room, and that he have a hospital bed in a tiny dining room – where he would also have to have bed baths and a commode as the house is not big enough for him to get to the bathroom.

“It is totally unsuitable,” said Carol.

So far, she says the only houses she has been offered are in Cambridge. But she works as a cleaner in Bury, while her children go to school in the town, and she wants to remain in the area.

“I cannot believe the lack of suitable housing for disabled people,” said Carol.

“We have soldiers getting injured and losing limbs – they must need housing, too. It is just rubbish.

“I honestly thought things would be more straight forward.

“He is just so fed up and wants to come home. He said if it comes down to it, he will just sit, eat and sleep in a reclining chair.

“Neil may not look it, but he is the softest, kindest person you could meet. We are both hard working.

“There are so many people with disabilities that are struggling – and it shouldn’t be like that.

“Our lives have been completely shattered. All I want is to have a roof over our head and to be able to live – and I think we are entitled to that.”

St Edmundsbury Borough Council manages the housing waiting list and said there was a shortage of all types of social housing, including for disabled people.

“We always try to make sure that any adapted property is occupied by suitable tenants, and we work with applicants to match them to a suitable property,” said a council spokeswoman.

“This can include advice from occupational therapists about any adaptations that could be made with the help of a disabled facilities grant.”