Disappearing landlines cause problems for elderly

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phoneMANTELOKING, NJ – Cellphones, cellphones, everywhere! Does anyone still use landlines?

Yeah, a lot of old folks do; not just because they haven’t upgraded to cells yet, but because they have medical devices tied to their landlines.

Nonagenarian Irene Ginsberg was completely cut off when her landline went out in Long Beach, New York. Worse than that, her Life Alert System is linked to the line, so if anything were to happen to her, she would be in deep trouble. “I don’t know what I would do,” Ginsberg explained, “If I can’t call, then I’ll just lay there and die.”

Robert Post of Mantoloking, New Jersey has a similar problem. At 85, he has to check his pacemaker once a month over a copper wire landline, but his phone line was blown out last year by Superstorm Sandy and Verizon says they aren’t planning on replacing it. They claim it’s dead technology and want to go all wireless. So Robert drives to his friend’s house in the next town over to do his checkup.

He could switch to cable phone service, but like a lot of folks who use it know, it’s not always the most reliable and they raise their prices pretty much every year.

And it’s not just the elderly dealing with all this. Rural areas with sketchy cell service will also be cut off if landlines disappear. It has the Federal Communications Commission in a quandary about what to do, but they’re working on it with AT&T, the largest landline provider in the U.S.

Let’s hope they figure it out pretty soon — before it’s more than just phone lines that end up dead!



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