IT’s always Christmas for one inner-city pensioner from Melbourne and his retired daughter interstate.
89-year-old John has lived in the same apartment for 52 years and John’s step-daughter Ilona lives on the coast in New South Wales.
Ilona was constantly worried about her dad living alone after her mother moved to a nursing home and then passed away some years ago.
John now gets a free daily phone call from Red Cross to check he’s safe and well, and Ilona is so grateful she now volunteers as a Red Cross caller herself.
John’s daily Red Cross phone call gives Ilona great peace of mind. She rings her dad as often as she can but she says it’s a great comfort to know someone has always checked on her father by 8am every morning.
“It’s hard to rely on friends and neighbours,” Ilona says. “Neighbours can go away for a weekend and an elderly person, who’s had a fall or worse, may not be found for days.”
No such worries for John. On Christmas Day, not only will John get his regular call from a volunteer at the Red Cross Call Centre. He’ll also be first on Ilona’s list before she calls her Red Cross clients to wish them a safe and happy day.
Red Cross phones 8,000 people every day to check they’re OK, and each year makes nearly 10,000 requests for someone to knock on the door of anyone who has failed to answer their daily call.
A donation to the Red Cross Christmas Appeal will help ensure elderly and isolated people like John get a phone call on Christmas Day and every day of the year.
To donate to the Red Cross Festive Appeal go to redcross.org.au or phone 1800 811 700.
*John’s and Ilona’s surnames have been withheld for privacy reasons.