Elevator Failure Strands Seniors

Last Thursday's storm forced a lot of people out of their homes because of flooding. But some elderly people of Rendant Apartments in Savannah were forced to stay in because their elevator was damaged by lightning. Some of these people are still stranded on the second and third floors of their apartment building.

The lightning destroyed a major electrical part in the elevator's control system. People tried to use the elevator and another part blew out. The problem is the parts have to be ordered from out of town. At least two or three people have not been able to leave the upper floors.

Randee Powell, property manager of Rendant Apartments, said most are doing just fine with a little help from their neighbors. "Some of the residents and all of the staff have helped people get up and down stairs with clothes; laundry when they are doing laundry; and groceries when they come in with groceries."

There are 64 units in the building. With the exception of four or five apartments, the apartments are occupied by people who can use the stairs, and most of them don't mind being without the elevator for a few days. Resident Wilhelmenia Harris remained upbeat, saying, "It's probably good for my heart, running up and down stairs and getting the blood pressure going. No, it does not bother me at all."

For those residents who cannot use the stairs, some members of the staff have even gone so far as to pick them up and carry them up and down the stairs. Which is surprising, since Powell said that "this is totally an independent living apartment complex; it is not a senior care home whatsoever."

The bottom line is everyone who lives in these apartments is supposed to be able to use the stairs. Over the years, some of them have become more dependent on walkers and wheelchairs. Those people may have to consider other living arrangements in the near future. In the meantime, the elevator should be back in service July 29 or 30.

Reported by: Ron Wallace, rwallace@wtoc.com