A chat, a check up and a friendly voice

After the disturbing revelation that a man died alone in his home in Cooma, and was not found for weeks, the Red Cross is reaching out to the community to let people know about their Telecross phone service.

The Red Cross contacted the Cooma-Monaro Express after learning about the man who died in his Mulach Street home and was not discovered for about six weeks.

Red Cross offers a free daily telephone service check to see that everything is OK for people who are isolated and unable to get out and about.

Red Cross social connection programs manager Beth Wurcker said the organisation offers a simple telephone service that can make a profound difference to the lives of older people, people with disabilities who live alone and others who may be socially isolated.

"A short daily phone call to confirm all is well is hugely appreciated both by the recipient and their families," Ms Wurcker said.

"It is a privilege for Red Cross to be able to offer this service and we'd love to have more regional people involved."

The telephone service is a way for people who may be isolated through poor health, chronic illness or disability to maintain contact with their community.

Red Cross has run Telecross for 40 years, with volunteers making daily phone calls to almost 5,000 people across Australia.

Volunteers call clients each morning to check that everything is OK and if a client misses their call a follow up procedure is immediately put in place.

If people don't answer their phone, volunteers make several attempts over the next 30 minutes before notifying Telecross staff who will phone the person's nominated contacts to ask them to visit and check on them immediately.

If no-one is available, Red Cross staff will request emergency services undertake a welfare check.

Red Cross staff are available seven days a week to follow up any issues with clients and volunteers.

Calls are primarily to check on the client's welfare and usually last one to two minutes.

Telecross volunteers come from all walks of life including university students, retirees, working people and anyone with the desire to give something back to their community and enjoy a chat at the same time.

Another community support service offered by the Red Cross that builds on the Telecross program is TeleCHAT.

TeleChat offers people who may be socially or geographically isolated, a friendly social phone call once or twice a week by a volunteer.

There are no fees to use either Telecross or TeleChat.

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