Region's elderly forced to fend for themselves

ELDERLY Clarence residents without internet access and mobile phones have been left to fend for themselves, says one Coutts Crossing resident.

64-year-old 'Lola' claims elderly people have been forgotten as the community sets up systems to navigate enforced Covid-19 disruptions.

Without internet or a mobile phone, Lola has found it difficult to access many of the services set up to help during the crisis.

A telling encounter was a call to a major supermarket to find out what options for setting up a home delivery service.

"I don't want to go shopping for food," she said. "I have medical reasons, and they're asking us to self isolate."

Lola called the company's helpline, but found it less than helpful.

"They put me on hold for so long the battery in my landline handset went flat," she said.

"When it recharged I rang again and eventually I got a recorded message to email my request to the company."

Lola said she did not have family or friends in the region and has found going shopping a nightmare.

"There's nothing on the shelves," she said. "Last time I went shopping in Grafton I had to go to four different supermarkets and I still couldn't find everything I needed."

And the rules designed to discourage hoarders have not helped her.

"I want to buy enough so I don't have to go shopping again for at least two weeks," she said. "The two-pack limit is no help to me at all."

She has been less than impressed with other shoppers, who appear to pay no attention to social distancing rules.

Lola had purchased a faulty lawnmower from Aldi which she wanted to return and replace. She arrived at the store and struggled to get the mower from her car, only to find the store had changed its opening hours from 8am to 9.30am.

She waited at the store until it opened, which gave her the opportunity to witness the behaviour of shoppers.

"The line went all the way down the ramp and when the doors opened, people pushed through the doors," she said.

"Social distancing went out the window."

"Surely someone could offer a service where people could ring up on a landline and place an order for their shopping, or get a service," she said.

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