Howz working with EDF Energy

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Customer Stories: Ernest Poole, 96

Ernest is 96 and enjoys getting out and about and meeting his friends for morning coffee. He stopped driving last year but catches a bus most mornings to M+S, where he is the oldest of a little group who meet up for a daily natter. He has lived in his three-bed semi for 54 years and plans to stay there for as long as possible.

Howz gives him the reassurance that his family will be alerted to any change in his routine.

Ernest said: “I like to go out of a morning. If I do that it helps with the rest of the day at home and it is very good to stop loneliness.

“There is a little group of us that get together, none of them are quite as old as me though – there is one who is 90 and one of 92, then two or three in their 80s. We chat about old times. It isn’t anything formal, we just know we will be there. It’s part of my routine now. 

“Apart from that, my son, Jim, comes up and collects me on a Saturday morning and I go there for lunch. When it’s nice I like sitting out in his garden. My other son, John, lives close by and I go there for dinner on a Monday and my daughter, Clare, is in regular contact too. They all look after me.”

Ernest spent his working life with the old London Electricity Board and both of his sons followed him into the electricity industry. His independence and routine are very important to him.

He said: “I was driving until last year, when I sold my car. I miss the freedom it gave me but the buses here are very frequent. I moved into this house in 1964, that’s 54 years ago now. I lost my wife 14 years ago, so I am not as happy here now as I was with her, but I want to stay in my own home. The only thing that would move me would be if I had to go into a care home, but I’m hoping that won’t happen.

“Having Howz is a comfort because I know if I didn’t follow my routine and get up and about someone would know. There was one occasion when I was sick and didn’t get out of bed. Jim got an alert and called me. The system isn’t intrusive at all, we are just all reassured it is there. I’m a lucky man, I have a caring family, and this lets them know everything is okay.”

Jim is glad he installed Howz in his dad’s home, especially for the early warning he got when Ernest was poorly. He said: “We tried one of the early Howz kits and, at first, it was a great novelty. I kept joking with my dad about how many cups of tea I could see he was drinking. As time went on I guess we both got more used to it and I started to rely more on the alerts. 

“Last year I was away on holiday in Malta and I got an alert to say the usual movement hadn’t been detected in dad’s home. I called him straight away and it turned out he had been really sick so was ill in bed. It wasn’t life or death but, at his age, it could have become more serious. He is a very proud man, and wouldn’t have wanted to make a fuss, so I am not sure he would have called anyone. Although I was away I was able to get hold of my brother, who popped in to check on him and see what he needed. It is a really practical example of Howz in action.”

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