NOLLAMARA resident Lois Mullane’s morning routine would not be complete without several calls to her Red Cross Telecross clients.
Ms Mullane has been a Telecross volunteer for 11 years, bringing a little bit of joy to sick and elderly people living alone with daily phone conversations.
“I start my calls at quarter past seven every morning,” she said.
“I work my way down the list of numbers, it’s great to meet different people.
“It’s like a family, occasionally the grandchildren come and answer the phone and say ‘hello Aunty Lois, Nanna is coming to the phone’.
“If you don’t talk to someone you forget things, you need to talk about things and about your life.”
Ms Mullane became involved in service after her husband passed away after an 18-year illness.
“To me I’m just ringing a friend, it’s not really a job for me,” she said.
“Sometimes it’s the only person they have spoken to for days.
“When you don’t speak to someone for days a time, you lose the ability to communicate.”
Working down her list, Ms Mullane said she has spoken to some characters over the years.
“Jackie, she was a darling, she had a cat that would sit on her lap and meow, my dog would hear it and bark so every morning the cat and the dog also had a conversation, it was hilarious,” she said.
“In 2006 a lady in her 90s I was talking to, Polly, had my number and I got a call from her after her two daughters had an accident in Rockingham at they were both killed; she had no one to talk to but me.
“We were on the phone for a long time… she had actually seen the accident happen.”
Isolation and loneliness can be a heartbreaking side effect of getting older according to Red Cross chief executive Judy Slatyer.
“New data reveals that in 2015, we helped more than 20,000 Australians who were living alone,” she said.
“Our volunteers improve their lives and their health; calling lonely people every day to check they’re safe and ok.
“Mounting research also shows that loneliness has a big impact on overall health and wellbeing, posing increased risks of heart attacks, depressed immune system, life-threatening cancers and depression.”