Oak Ridge mother and son amputees need help making home accessible

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) – An Oak Ridge woman who has lost both legs to diabetes is asking for help. She doesn’t want a hand out, but just some assistance in modifying her home. The final blow came this summer when her son’s leg was amputated.

It’s a struggle for Margaret Jones not only to turn on the water at her kitchen sink, but to wash the dishes. Margaret Jones, a former restaurant manager, is a diabetic and double amputee. She says it’s an adventure to grab a can of food from her kitchen cabinet.

“I got the best grabber I can have, but when I go to get can food out, they drop,” she said.

Most troublesome for Margaret Jones is navigating the narrow hallway in her home. The bathroom is a daily challenge. The tub is hard to get in and out of, among other issues.

She has lived in her Oak Ridge home for 19 years. A ramp was installed by a charitable organization when she lost her first leg to diabetes 11 years ago.

“I got like this when I was 43. My kid got like this when he was 30. He liked to work,” she said.

Her son DeMario Jones lost his leg to diabetes in July of this year. He’s been a diabetic since of age of 11. As a recent amputee, he’s just learning to maneuver inside the bathroom.

“Not enough room so I can lock my wheelchair so I can slide on the seat to get in the shower,” he said.

Margaret Jones said she and DeMario have attended rehabilitation classes learning how to deal with the full physical, psychological and emotional issues associated with amputation. Her $1,232 a month disability check won’t stretch far enough for her to afford paying to the lower the sink in her kitchen or having a walk-in shower installed. Presently, DeMario Jones is dependent on his mother. she wants no hand out but needs help making her home accessible.

“I’m scared if a fire breaks out. I put in my mind, how am I going to get him out, because his wheelchair is bigger than mine. What am I going to do?” Margaret Jones said.

According to the latest hospital discharge data, the number of lower limb amputations in Tennessee were nearly 40,000 between 2001 and 2012, and that represented 92 percent of all amputations in the state. In 2012, almost half of the amputations in Tennessee, 47 percent, were performed on people between the ages of 45-64. The leading causes of lower limb amputation are complications from diabetes.

Margaret Jones says any help will go a long way.

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