Wembley war veteran, 100, left housebound after Brent Council refuse to move him from his third-floor flat
- Credit: Archant
A 100-year-old war veteran in Wembley has become a prisoner in his third-floor council flat after he was refused a transfer because ‘he doesn’t fit the criteria’.
Fred Hodge, who lives in Preston Hill, has been housebound for more than three months because he can no longer climb the four flights of stairs to leave his home due to his heart and lung condition.
His flat is located in a block with no lifts.
The great-grandfather, who fought in World War Two and spent three-and-a-half years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Borneo, has a life-threatening heart condition, which is inoperable due to his age.
He is also diabetic, asthmatic, has the lung condition chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can only hear with an aid and is on a variety of medication.
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However he does not have dementia, is not incontinent and is gregarious and sociable so does not fit the criteria for a transfer, say his family.
Mr Hodge, who has a carer visit him three times a day, said: “If I had dementia the council would find a place for me in a home but I have got enough with other things, I don’t want dementia, I just want to move to a ground floor flat so I can go out and see my friends.”
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The former cobbler was born in March 1916 in Plymouth and fostered as a baby, later taken in by Barnado’s, the children’s charity when he was eight years old.
He moved to Cricklewood when he was 16 and married his wife Elizabeth in Willesden Green in 1938 before going off to war.
Now a widower with three children, five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, his family gathered at the Ascension Church Hall in the Avenue to celebrate his 100th birthday four months ago.
A keen cook and gardener, he said: “I’ve lived in this flat for 26 years. I don’t want to move because of the lovely view. I can go down the stairs but I can’t get back up so I don’t go out but I am lucky really, I know plenty of others in my situation.”
His son, Fred Hodge, 77, said: “He hasn’t got dementia, he hasn’t got bowel problems, so Brent Council said he didn’t fit the criteria. They seem to find reasons for not doing anything.”
A spokeswoman for Brent Council refused to tell the Times what the critera was for a transfer.
She said: “While we have found that Mr Hodge does not currently require a place in a care home, we are clear that his current accommodation is not suitable for his needs.
“Therefore we are working with Mr Hodge and his family to identify suitable alternatives that are less restrictive to his independence than residential care might be, although no option has been ruled out at the moment.
“We will meet with Mr Hodge and his family this week to discuss the actions we need to take which everyone agrees will best meet his care needs.”