PHONE DILEMMA: He reached for his landline phone to call for family help, but with the power out, it wasn't working
PHONE DILEMMA: He reached for his landline phone to call for family help, but with the power out, it wasn't working SolStock

Solution needed to phone blackouts

I AM sitting with an old friend at her home in the ACT, sharing a hot cup of tea on a cold winter's day, listening to a story about her neighbour who is over 90 years old.

Let's call him John. The widower lives alone in an old brick house which he shared with his wife for many, many years.

Dementia has set in - rather badly it seems, but John won't move out of the family home; at least not willingly. Last week he turned up at my sister's front door, panicked. He, at least, remembers that my sister will always welcome him and is happy to help him out, when she is home. She has a list of contact numbers at hand for John's family, because he is now often calling at her door.

This time though the lights have gone out in his house and it was a very cold, dark night. He didn't know why they went out and didn't know what to do to turn them back on.

John said he reached for his landline phone to call for family help, but with the power out, it wasn't working. He doesn't own a mobile you see and is unlikely to understand how to use one due to his increasing dementia.

His next reaction was to walk to my sister's place on the cold night and ask for her help. Luckily she was home and able to find someone to help get the power back on and John back home safely.

So, when the power goes out the NBN connection won't work and so too the landline.

If an elderly Australian doesn't own a mobile, can't afford one, doesn't know how to use it, can't read the buttons and screen clearly enough to use it, forgets to have it fully charged at all times, can't use the landline to ring the mobile to find out where it has been left in the house... it's a big question and that needs answering now, but who is providing the solution?

I am going to take this up with my local Federal member and ask him to act on our behalf to push for a solution. What can you do?