IT WAS a horrifying two days that saw an elderly Evans Head woman trapped in her own garage unable to escape, until her neighbours helped her.
The 87-year-old had gone into the garage adjoining her flat last Sunday afternoon to get some laundry when the door somehow closed behind her.
With no key and the door now locked, the woman became confused and was unable to find the emergency button to open the garage roller door.
"After a day and a half I managed to get the window opened," she said.
"I saw a young man and yelled out for him to get me some water."
It did not cross her mind to ask him to help her out of the garage.
The young man also didn't notice her predicament, although he obliged her request and got her a bottle of water.
"I was drinking it and enjoying every mouthful," she said.
"But I thought I better slow down as I had to make it last."
During her ordeal the woman said she heard voices and at times even saw people in the garage.
"There was a young man looking after me and cooking for me," she said.
By Tuesday afternoon, realising her bottle of water was running out, the woman made a desperate attempt to get out of the window by throwing a mattress through it.
"I was going to slide down it and get out that way," she said.
Neighbour Merey Turner saw the mattress out the window and called her mother Gayle Turner.
Gayle helped Merey climb into the window and find the emergency button on the garage door and finally released her trapped neighbour.
"The look on her face when she saw the roller door go up was priceless," Gayle said.
"She said she was very thirsty and so hungry she 'could eat a horse and chase the jockey too'."
Gayle said it really was a lesson in keeping an eye on our neighbours, especially if they are elderly and living alone.
"This story had a happy ending but it could have been worse," she said.
Paramedics were called to the scene and said the woman was suffering from dehydration but her blood sugar levels were good.
Tips for the elderly living alone:
Always wear a Vital Call personal alarm.
If there are doors with locks only on one side, ensure a key is nearby
Always know where the emergency buttons are for automatic doors.
If you have an elderly relative not answering the phone, keep the number of a neighbour handy so they can check up on them.
As a neighbour keep an eye on the mail or newspapers and make sure they are being collected, or just take time out to have a cuppa with your neighbour.
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