Terminally ill woman needs accommodation

By kyra.dawson@dailypost.co.nz

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FAMILY: Rotha Angel (right) with her sister Angela Angel(left) and Rotha's new granddaughter. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
FAMILY: Rotha Angel (right) with her sister Angela Angel(left) and Rotha's new granddaughter. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

A terminally ill Rotorua woman is searching for a new place to live out the remainder of her days, so she doesnt feel like a "burden" on her family.

Rotha Angel, 55, was diagnosed three and a half years ago with a stroke and last July she was re-diagnosed with end-stage Motor Neuron Disease and was given one month to live.

She moved from the home she had been in for two years because it wasn't suitable for her care.

For the past six or so months she has been living happily in her own place with her sister, Angela Angel, and her niece providing her with 24-hour care.

But after the death of her landlord, she had to move out and has been having trouble finding somewhere else to rent.

Rotha is currently living with her daughter, her daughter's partner and their two children in a three-bedroom place. Due to lack of room she is set up in the lounge with all of her machines and boxes of belongings, which makes the house crowded.

Rotha has lost her ability to speak, but she still knows what is going on around her and communicates by writing on an electronic tablet.

"It would mean the world to me [to have my own place], I feel like such a burden on everyone, like I'm draining their lives. If I had my own space I could feel at home, which I haven't felt for some time," Rotha wrote.

Angela said they had been in touch with the Ministry of Social Development, which works with Housing New Zealand, and had been told Rotha was a high priority on the housing list.

"We have been looking at real estate, we are hoping to find somewhere for her quickly."

Angela said before the diagnosis Rotha was independent but she had deteriorated quickly.

"She thought she was going to bounce back after the stroke and carry on, because people do it all the time, but it wasn't a stroke," said Angela.

"Because they told us she only had a month we started preparing for her funeral and we have all of that in place now, she is getting worse each time but we don't want her to be in limbo, we have tried our best to keep her comfortable and to find her something.

"You just never know. It's not going to be a long-term thing, but there might be the odd person in this city who says 'hey she can rent this place' so she can be settled and content until she passes and not go into an old folks' home. That is our last resort."

Motor Neuron Disease is a progressive disease involving degeneration of the motor neurons and wasting of the muscles.

Mike Bryant, Regional Commissioner for Social Development, Bay of Plenty told the Rotorua Daily Post Rotha was a high priority for social housing.

"We are going to meet with the family to see if there is more that we can do to help. Ms Angel's application for social housing became active in early November 2015. She is currently an A priority on the Social Housing Register."

He said they were confident Ms Angel's medical condition had been properly taken into account in her housing assessment, but meeting with her and her family would help clarify this.

The Ministry of Social Development assesses eligibility for social housing and manages the social housing register.

Each person on the register is given a priority rating based on their individual circumstances and the urgency of their housing need.

"However, people's priority rating may increase or decrease if their circumstances change, or there are applications from people with greater or more urgent housing needs," Mr Bryant said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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