Broken elevator leaves residents at assisted living facility feeling trapped

- Since her left leg was amputated below the knee, Michelle Anderson has been confined to a motorized wheelchair. 

Now she also feels like she’s a prisoner in her own home, she told Fox 9. 

“I am really upset,” Anderson said. "I can't get out. I can't leave my apartment. I can't leave the floor that I live on. I can't go anywhere."

Anderson said the only elevator at the North Oaks on Emerson assisted living facility in North Minneapolis stopped working late last week. She said that staff told her it will not be fixed until after the New Year.

This has left her feeling stranded on the second floor of the four story building because her wheelchair is too heavy for staff to carry down the stairs. There are a handful of other residents in similar situations on her floor alone, Anderson said. 

"I can't go downstairs for breakfast,” she said. “I can't go downstairs for lunch. I can't go downstairs for dinner. Can't leave and go to an appointment.”

A representative for the company that manages the building, Paruan Incorporated, said they've been working with residents with limited mobility to deliver meals to their rooms. 

The company said it offered residents the opportunity to move to another facility until the elevator is fixed. But so far only three residents expressed an interest in relocating. Anderson said it doesn't accept animals.

"I can't go there because I have a dog, who is my companion pet and I can't take her with me to a nursing home," Anderson said.

But Anderson said what really hurts is not being able to leave and celebrate Christmas with her mother, who's also wheelchair bound in a nursing home.

"I know what they are doing is not right,” she said. “It's not fair to me to have to live like this."

Paruan said they have notified the Minneapolis police and fire departments of the situation in case there's an emergency at the facility. They also said that they offered Anderson the chance to move to another facility that would accept pets, but she decided to stay where she is.

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