Woman demands compensation from home

HARARE - An elderly woman in her late 60s is demanding compensation from an old people’s home where she resides, situated in Arcadia, Harare after she sustained serious injuries when a ceiling collapsed on her.
Doreen Osmon described her ordeal at Carely Cottages in Arcadia to the Daily News saying: “I sustained injuries in my eye, ear, neck and part of my back. I am currently receiving treatment using my own money.”  

The incident happened in March but Osmon is still receiving treatment. She has written to the chairperson of the old people’s home explaining challenges at the flats and is seeking compensation as she believes the incident was avoidable.  

Osmon said in the letter: “With this object in view, I think it only fair that I receive reimbursement, in full, for all costs as well as compensation for my injuries, pain and emotional suffering.” She expressed concern at the condition of the flat. “I would like to express my deepest concern about the condition of our flat.

Firstly, the leakage in our flat caused by cracked roof sheets and corroded gutters, has been reported repeatedly over the last few years with no appropriate actions being done to rectify the problem.”

She chronicled instances when the flat was flooded following a storm. She said she has been facing problems with the flat since February 2012 but nothing was done and that the collapsing of the ceiling was a culmination of many problems.

Osman blamed the chairperson for not acting swiftly on the flat leakage. “We had to practically force you to meet with us over a weekend to show you what your contractors have done to this flat.

“You chose again to ignore this. After we met we never saw you nor did you follow up this repair. If you had taken heed in the year 2012 this would never have happened to me.”

“In the following year, on the 10th of March 2013 another storm came down and the leak was now in the kitchen, lounge and bedroom. As we were removing the electric items from the kitchen the ceiling suddenly collapsed on my left side causing injury to my head, eye and ear, which, no doubt, caused me severe pain and discomfort. At night, we left to live with my daughter.

“On Sunday the 11th we had to visit the doctor at his residence. From then on I had to see specialists for my head and eye. I still have to see the ear specialist. Enclosed with this letter are proof of medical expenses and transport costs. Most medicine was paid for by ourselves, however some was paid for by our medical aid.”  

The Daily News visited Carely Cottages in Arcadia and spoke to the matron who refused to give any information.

She referred us to the chairperson of the old people’s home who in turn refused to speak to us.  

However, the Daily News understands that the home was established way before Zimbabwe’s independence to cater for the Arcadia community.

It was a good initiative to look after the elderly but some members of the community feel that the home has been hijacked by some unscrupulous people.  

At the moment the home houses the elderly between the ages of 66 and 87. They pay about $210 a month for rentals excluding food.

The home no longer offers meals like before, and those who cannot prepare their food buy from outside or eat at relatives houses. - Margaret Chinowaita, Community Affairs Editor

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