Elderly people spend a week without electricity in a retirement home after the storm


An emergency generator kept an elevator running, but most of the Heritage Building remains dark.

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They are flashlights and cold lunch boxes for about 120 elderly people in the dark halls of the Heritage retirement home, which has been without power for a week since a severe storm rocked the Ottawa area.

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“We don’t have the power. I mean none,” said Fred Berthelotte, 81, who lives on the third floor of the building on rue Wilson and was furious on Friday.

“It’s amazing what they do to the elderly here,” Berthelotte said.

The building in the hard-hit Forbes neighborhood near the intersection of Montreal Road and the Vanier Parkway features an apartment wing for residents who mostly live independently and a “mansion” for residents. residents who require more extensive care or who have severe mobility issues. A backup generator kept an elevator running, but most of the building remains dark.

Several residents requiring oxygen were transferred to nearby Montfort Hospital due to the power outage.

” It’s hard. It’s very hard. It’s depressing,” said resident Claudette Patenaude, 88, who sat Friday afternoon with several other seniors on a patio as a support worker wearing a mask and a battery-powered headlamp brought a hot cup of coffee and a plate of snacks. But Patenaude said staff were doing their best under the difficult circumstances.

“We are well taken care of. The staff do everything possible to make us happy,” she said.

Hydro Ottawa has said all week that power will be restored to most customers by the end of the day on Friday, but the company’s CEO Friday afternoon, Bryce Conrad, acknowledged that goal would be lack. A Chartwell spokesperson said the company had been told it could expect power to recover on Sunday, eight days after the storm hit.

Chartwell’s Stillwater Creek residence on Robertson Road also went dark after the storm, but power has since been restored.

“We are fortunate to have a generator providing enough power to keep our home running safely while we wait for full power to be restored,” said Sharon Ranalli, vice president of marketing and communications. of Chartwell, in an emailed statement.

“We have been in constant communication with municipal and public health authorities, as well as Hydro Ottawa, who have assured us that power will be restored by Sunday, if not sooner. The safety and security of our residents and employees remains our top priority, and we are pleased to say that regular meal service, social activities and care services for our 120 residents have continued uninterrupted, and everyone stay in good spirits despite the challenges we’ve faced this week.

But Berthelotte was far from in a good mood on Friday. The former boxer moved to Legacy two years ago after suffering a severe concussion in a car accident. He also has a heart condition and uses a mobility scooter to visit friends at a nearby Tim Hortons. But, without electricity to recharge, the scooter is out of order, and his heart problem prevents him from managing the three flights of stairs to his apartment.

“I pay $50,000 a year to stay there. And to treat us like they’re treating us right now? They treat us like children,” he said.

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