New Neighbours Network to help Wellington

Published: Sun 25 Oct 2009 12:30 PM
New Neighbours Network card to help Wellington region senior citizens living alone
A new Neighbours Network card designed to help neighbours look out for people living alone will be distributed in the Wellington region this month, the first scheme of its kind in New Zealand.
Graham Young, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Lower Hutt, launched the scheme after hearing from one of his company’s caregivers that a senior citizen had died in the backyard of her home but was not found until days later.
Mr Young says there is a need for a system that alerts neighbours to a possible emergency. He says the Neighbours Network card concept is simple.
“You have a magnetic card with your neighbour’s phone number and their Emergency Contact’s number. If they don’t open their curtains (or whatever pre-arranged signal has been agreed) by a certain time, or you see something else out of the ordinary you call them, and if there’s no response, you call their Emergency Contact or, dial 111.”
“Neighbourhoods are different nowadays. As communities we need to watch out for each other and get neighbours networking and talking again. The Neighbours Network card will hopefully make this happen,” says Mr Young.
He adds that local community groups have shown great support for the new initiative and are keen to be involved. Hutt Safe City Group coordinator Ross McKinnon, thinks the card is an excellent idea.
“The network card will bring people together which makes for safer communities and gives us a helping hand. It is especially ideal for those living alone and with no one to look out for them,” says Mr McKinnon.
Also backing the scheme is Hutt Valley Emergency Management Office whose main focus is to educate the public about emergency situations and how to be prepared.
Advisor, Kathryn Nankivell says, “It’s not only important to look out for yourself in an emergency situation but for others in your community. In the case of a civil emergency, the connections are already made with the use of a Neighbours Network card.”
If you live in the Wellington region, including Wairarapa, and would like to receive a Neighbours Network card please contact Diane Pye at Home Instead Senior Care on 04 566 4476 or 0800 664 422.

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