Stranded without power in the wake of Hurricane Irma, thousands of South Florida seniors have found themselves trapped ? in healthcare facilities, affordable housing apartments and planned retirement communities ? without access to elevators, air conditioning, telephones and even medical devices.
An inconvenience for many, days-long power outages pose a danger to the elderly, particularly those who are frail, a threat underscored Wednesday by the deaths of eight residents at a Hollywood nursing home that had lost power during the storm.
?It?s criminal what they?re doing,? said Sonia Suarez, 72, president of the residents association for Martin Fine Villas, a Miami-Dade County-run public housing center with 62 disabled tenants.
Suarez uses a wheelchair, and she has been unable to recharge her electric wheelchair since the storm knocked out power to the center. Instead, she has been relying on a neighbor to push her wheelchair as she checks on other residents.