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Swedish pensioner wins fight for walkabout rights

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Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
10:29 CEST+02:00
A 90-year-old woman in southern Sweden has won he battle to receive assistance enabling her to leave her fourth-floor apartment and go on walks, after refusing to accept a rejection of her request for more help.

"There's a certain freedom in coming down to ground level. I'm sort of trapped up here," the woman, identified as Annie, told the local Skånska Dagbladet daily.

Annie has lived in her apartment on the fourth floor in Malmö since she was 30 years old. Now she's 90.

As the apartment has no lift Annie was left admiring the lush courtyard from her balcony for most of the week. With her walker she gets along just fine on the streets below, but the four flights of stairs have proved an insurmountable obstacle for the Malmö nonagenarian.

For several months home care services have assisted Annie, and once a week a worker has helped her down the stairs so she that can walk in the fresh air. But in February her doctor concluded that it wasn't enough. 

"The doctor said that I needed to get out at least twice a week," Annie told the newspaper. 

She applied for additional aid from Malmö city, but her request was denied.

"When I received the rejection I just broke down," she said.

The city said that a doctor's certificate was "just a recommendation" and told the newspaper that it did not mean they actually had to do anything about the woman's situation.

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Annie however did not give up at the first hurdle, appealed the decision and the administrative court ruled in her favour. Now Annie goes for walks on Tuesdays and Fridays. 

The city has the right to appeal the court's ruling this week, but local official Åsa Jensen said that a decision had not yet been taken on whether to pursue the case.

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