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Heartbreaking video shows ‘suicidal’ deaf pensioner, 77, who cannot make himself understood


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Heartbreaking video shows a ‘suicidal’ deaf pensioner describe his desperate loneliness as he watches other residents talk and laugh at a care home where he cannot make himself understood. 

John Skinner, 77, wants to be sent to one of only three specialist homes for deaf OAPs in the UK but his local council have refused the request to move him from Oak Court Residential Care Home, Wolverhampton. 

The former carpenter and joiner, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, has been in the home since September and has been suicidal because of his loneliness. 

The father of two and grandfather of seven cannot live at home with his wife, Linda, 72, who is also deaf because he keeps falling over and she cannot hear when this happens

The father of two and grandfather of seven cannot live at home with his wife, Linda, 72, who is also deaf because he keeps falling over and she cannot hear when this happens. 

Sadly, a lack of cash means there is no place for him at a specialist home in Bath, Somerset, 105 miles away. 

His furious family posted the video to social media with the caption: ‘In talks with Wolves Council on my dad’s nursing care. 

‘The council believes in integrating deaf people into mainstream care services. Seeing my dad like this breaks my heart. There are more deaf people who are in the same situation.’ 

In the clip John says: ‘I’m lonely. No one to talk to. I watch people laugh and talk. I have to watch and wait for my moment to ask for a drink. 

‘I can’t say to staff ‘I’d like a little more or less in my drink’. I try to teach staff BSL [British Sign Language] but they don’t understand.’

John Skinner, 77, wants to be sent to one of only three specialist homes for deaf OAPs in the UK

John Skinner, 77, wants to be sent to one of only three specialist homes for deaf OAPs in the UK

John Skinner, 77, wants to be sent to one of only three specialist homes for deaf OAPs in the UK but his local council have refused the request to move him from Oak Court Residential Care Home, Wolverhampton

Professor Jemina Napier, Chair of Intercultural Communication in the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, wrote under the post saying: 'This is sad to see - hard for your dad and you and your family'

Professor Jemina Napier, Chair of Intercultural Communication in the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, wrote under the post saying: ‘This is sad to see – hard for your dad and you and your family’

Professor Jemina Napier, Chair of Intercultural Communication in the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, wrote under the post saying: ‘This is sad to see – hard for your dad and you and your family. 

‘My deaf grandfather was in a signing nursing home with other deaf people and deaf and hearing staff that could sign and it made such a difference to him and to us. ‘@WolvesCouncil do the right thing by the Skinner family’.’ 

Speaking today, John’s son, Robert Skinner said: ‘My dad tried to commit suicide – he is very lonely. The council attribute my dad’s mental health as related to Parkinson’s. We link it to both social isolation and Parkinson’s. 

‘For my dad at the moment it is like serving a prison sentence. He sits there watching people talk, laugh, reading the situation and has no idea of when they will stop talking so he can ask the staff for a drink. 

Robert explained that Labour-run City of Wolverhampton Council did provide the home with extra funding to help them cope and learn how to care for John but this only lasted 14 weeks (the care home is pictured)

Robert explained that Labour-run City of Wolverhampton Council did provide the home with extra funding to help them cope and learn how to care for John but this only lasted 14 weeks (the care home is pictured)

His furious family posted the video to social media with the caption: 'In talks with Wolves Council on my dad's nursing care

His furious family posted the video to social media with the caption: 'In talks with Wolves Council on my dad's nursing care

Sadly, a lack of cash means there is no place for him at a specialist home in Bath, Somerset, 105 miles away. His furious family posted the video to social media with the caption: ‘In talks with Wolves Council on my dad’s nursing care

‘The care home have not the funding to provide an interpreter or employ someone fluent in BSL. 

‘They care for my dad but cobbled together a service that has very limited communication. It’s gestures. The gestures are not always mutually understood.’ 

Robert explained that Labour-run City of Wolverhampton Council did provide the home with extra funding to help them cope and learn how to care for John but this only lasted 14 weeks. 

He added: ‘We want basic care needs to be met, and this can only be done in by a service where sign language is the primary language. 

‘People expect deaf people to make adjustments not normally ask of others – but they don’t have to live with it. 

‘Our argument is that we cannot do anything about the cost. It is not our fault there is no joined up action to improve nursing care for deaf people. It is desperately needed. 

‘It would make such a big difference to the isolation of deaf people around the UK. 

‘Wolverhampton will not pay for the deaf specialist service. In their view it is too expensive.’    

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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