Who will miss me if I die alone?
WHO will miss me? Who will know if I die?
Those are just some of the questions many Toowoomba seniors have been asking since a grisly discovery in Sydney this week.
Natalie Jean Wood died in her Surry Hills apartment in 2003, then aged 79.
She was not found until police broke down her front door on Tuesday this week, eight years after she died.
While the death occurred in Sydney, the issues that led to Ms Wood’s body lying undiscovered for almost a decade resonate with Toowoomba’s elderly.
At the Toowoomba Senior Citizens Club, members admit they hold a very real fear of dying alone and not being missed.
Eighty-three-year-old Monica Phillips said she often did not see her family for weeks at a time.
“The kids, they forget about mum when you get older.”
Ms Phillips said by simply staying active and part of a tight social network, she remained happy, active and, most importantly, safe.
“If I didn’t turn up here (at the Toowoomba Senior Citizens Club) for a few weeks, I’m sure my friends would realise I’ve gone missing,” she said.
“And everyone down at Betros’ would know too.”
Lorna Porter, who lives at Southbrook, came up with a novel solution to ensure her next door neighbour was safe and sound.
“Every morning, she would open the blinds on her window and I’d know everything was okay.”
However, seniors do not have to do it all alone.
St John Ambulance Queensland provides a service called Silver Cord, in which people can arrange to receive regular security calls or friendship calls.
Community services manager Nathan Fenton-Smith said the service provided families with “peace of mind”.
“It’s as simple as a phone call,” he said.
Red Cross Australia also operates a similar service called Telecross.
Silvercord — Regular, vital friendship and security calls to help people remain at home safely. Register on 1300 360 455.
Telecross — Daily reassurance telephone calls to the frail, aged, people with a disability or medically at risk to check on their health and wellbeing. Register on 1300 885 698.