El­derly woman muted from the out­side world

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - CATRIN OWEN

An el­derly Auck­land woman has lost her life line and is feel­ing dis­con­nected from the out­side world.

Jean San­di­ford lives in Mead­ow­bank and her land­line has not been work­ing for lengthy pe­ri­ods of time.

On three sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions the 87-year-old has been un­able to use her phone, con­nected by providers Voda­fone and Cho­rus.

From May 23 it was out of ac­tion for a week and on July 9 for a fur­ther four days. The lat­est in­ci­dent has seen it cut off again since July 13.

‘‘I can’t see the end com­ing, this is the worst thing that could go on for days, weeks or months.’’

San­di­ford, who pays her phone bill on time, says she has felt de­pressed and ex­tremely iso­lated with­out the con­nec­tion.

‘‘For a per­son of my age group, it’s my way of keep­ing in touch with the world,’’ she says.

Her daugh­ter Linda Holmes has been con­cerned for her mother’s well­be­ing.

‘‘If she did have a prob­lem she wouldn’t be able to ring me,’ she says.

‘‘You can’t leave an el­derly per­son who lives at home by them­selves and re­lies on their phone with­out one for weeks, it’s not safe,’’ Holmes says.

San­di­ford also has a St John’s med­i­cal alarm con­nected to her land­line which would be af­fected by the phone dis­con­nec­tion, St John na­tional head of Tele­care Nick Co­ley says.

Holmes con­tacted both Voda­fone and Cho­rus who ap­plied tem­po­rary fixes, how­ever the phone has still not worked.

The phone was con­nected for a day, which hap­pened to be her birth­day, and San­di­ford cried tears of joy to only then have it dis­con­nected later that evening.

Cho­rus’ me­dia spokesper­son, Steve Pet­ti­grew says Cho­rus would like to apol­o­gise to San­di­ford and her fam­ily for the prob­lems she has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.

‘‘We do recog­nise how im­por­tant a land­line phone re­mains for many peo­ple and for San­di­ford to be with­out her phone ser­vice for so many days is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able.’’

Pet­ti­grew says Cho­rus is work­ing hard to re­solve this prob­lem. ‘‘It ap­pears to be the re­sult of wa­ter caus­ing cor­ro­sion dam­age in one of our larger cop­per ca­bles in the area.’’

Voda­fone says it will work along­side Cho­rus to look in to com­pen­sat­ing San­di­ford.

PHOTO: CATRIN OWEN

Jean San­di­ford has been left iso­lated af­ter her land­line stopped work­ing on May 23.

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