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Jacki: living the life she chooses


She may be almost completely blind, but that's not stopping 86-year-old Jacki Fowler living an independent life in the home and garden that are so dear to her.

With a bit of help from a Red Cross phone call every morning to check she's OK, she says little things like age and vision impairment aren't going to force her out of her home and garden, complete with the trees she planted, and the birds she recognises by their calls.

The former artist, sculptor and seamstress says the daily calls from Red Cross have given her reassurance.

"It's reassuring that somebody will ring me every day and if I don't answer the phone they know the people to contact and activate the emergency mode," she says. "So at least if anything happens through the night, I know that somebody is going to ring me."

Jacki says it's very important to her that she can stay living in her home. She's fiercely independent, and despite her vision being "like looking through dark sunglasses smeared with vasoline" she says she manages everything without much difficulty.

Her one piece of advice to others in a similarly vulnerable position?

Definitely sign on to Red Cross daily call service, Telecross!

"I'd recommend it to anybody in their mature years, particularly if they live alone. As you get older there are mishaps that happen, you just might happen to fall over or knock yourself out unexpectedly and the thought of not having anybody to turn to if you don't live with anybody, well, at least you know somebody will find you.

"And that's very satisfying and reassuring.

"And the people who ring are bright and lovely. It's just lovely to hear a friendly voice!"

Each year some 3,700 Red Cross volunteers call more than 6,800 people who live alone and are at risk of an accident or sudden illness that could go unnoticed. We do it as part of our work to see everyone living in Australia is included in society, to take part in their communities and to have meaningful relationships with other people.

Telecross helps people have the confidence to live in their own home and stay connected to their local community. Thanks to friendly Red Cross volunteers and staff they know that they are not alone or forgotten.

Red Cross puts in place around 9,000 emergency activations annually, where we call the person's nominated emergency contacts. The vast majority of people are found to be OK but in about 13 per cent of the activations the person is ill or injured and assistance is mobilised through the emergency contact.

To support Red Cross work including with vulnerable older people donate here.