Get up and knock on your elderly neighbour's door.


Melbourne is hot.

Adelaide is hot. And getting hotter.

Today, more Australian cities have a temperature forecast that starts with a three or a four than with a nice, comfortable two. And Sydney is recovering from a tornado.

In other words, summer is here and things are getting crazy.

Yesterday’s storm in Sydney. Image via Twitter.

In between complaining about how hot or not hot it is, in between deciding whether it’s a beach day or a too-hot-for-that movie day, in between worrying about humidity hair at the Christmas party and how to stop the kids overheating during their water fight – in between all of that, let’s remember something else.

When it’s hot, the people next door might need you.

Especially if they’re elderly. Especially if they’re living alone. Especially if they are unwell.

It’s not patronising to knock on someone’s door and make sure they’re okay, that they have cold water in the fridge and something simple and cool to eat.

When taking 10 steps outside becomes untenable because the heat feels like a dead weight on your back, it’s not an invasion of privacy to check in and see if they need something from the shops.

And if being stuck inside on a steaming day is no longer a welcome break from the real world, and has become a claustrophobic jail, offering to take someone for an air-conditioned drive is not an imposition.


For many of us, getting to know your neighbours can seem like another chore on your mind’s never-ending reel of To-Do lists.

But when the weather becomes a dangerous enemy to the vulnerable, finding out if the people around you are doing okay is no longer a nice thing to do that might win you some home-made cupcakes one day. It becomes, literally, a life-saving act.

Adelaide is facing a heatwave at the moment. 

Loneliness can kill. Heat can kill. Together they are a formidable foe.

Our to-do lists at this time of year are long and complicated. Reaching out to someone who needs you doesn’t have to be. What’s the worst they can say? I’m fine, thanks, go away?

There are many, many worse things than that. Being busy isn’t one of them.