CARING FOR COMMUNITY: Clients of the Telecross service receive a phone call daily to check on their welfare. Picture: Australian Red Cross/Rodney Dekker.
CARING FOR COMMUNITY: Clients of the Telecross service receive a phone call daily to check on their welfare. Picture: Australian Red Cross/Rodney Dekker.

How one phone call can prevent a tragedy

RECEIVING a simple phone call every day can be a lifesaver.

Red Cross volunteers are trained to phone people daily who live alone who may be elderly, isolated or otherwise very vulnerable.

According to Telecross Tweed region co-ordinator Marilee Campbell, it's a service which is beloved by clients and volunteers.

Ms Campbell said the recent news of an elderly Alstonville woman who was on the floor for five days before police found her, shows how important the Telecross service can be in looking after our more senior residents.

"Telecross is a daily call made at a time convenient to the client," Ms Campbell said.

"The volunteer rings the person who's signed on to receive the calls, and if three calls go unanswered, an emergency procedure is activated."

She said the calls help provide a check on the wellbeing of people who are at risk of an accident or illness that may go unnoticed, such as falling and being unable to call for help.

"And the calls provide reassurance as well as help to maintain independence," Ms Campbell said.

"One benefit of the pandemic lockdown has been an "heaps of wonderful people" who have joined the Telecross call team.

"We have around 47 people who call our 90 clients on the Tweed and Lismore has around 80 people for their 140 clients," she said.

"We have really been inundated with some really amazing volunteers, as it's cool we are one of the few programs which can continue on as usual.

"Our volunteers tell us they love the opportunity of giving back to their community."

And it's not only the volunteers who enjoy the daily call.

"Often we will have a new client whom we will give a daily call for a couple of weeks while their family is away," she said.

"Most the time they choose to keep the calls going as they love the cheery voice on the other end of the phone."

Anyone interested in becoming volunteer can contact: Bernadette Daley 1800010311 or 0429 305 692 or bdaley@redcross.org.au.

Telecross clients can access the service via https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/or call 1800 200 422 and request: "Australian Red Cross Social Support Services Far North Coast - NSW".