SYLVIA Keyes, 71, was left "high and dry" when her husband Ron died.

The feisty Boyne Island resident has retinitis pigmentosa. She is legally blind.

"It's like looking through a straw," she said.

She also has a hearing impairment. Sylvia can only hear her phone ring if she's sitting right next to it.

Sylvia lived a relatively normal life when Ron was alive.

It was only after he passed 11 years ago that she realised all he did.

"After he died I thought, 'Everything will be ok'. Then all of a sudden it hit...

"I can't do this, I can't do that.

"I told him not to take his eyes and his ears with him - he didn't listen to me," she laughed.

Sylvia knows exactly how many steps it takes to reach any one point in her home.

Same goes for her small block of land.

"I don't need eyes - I can scream around the yard."

Dear friend John Histon is at Sylvia's house. He pops in as often as he can.

"She mows her lawn, for God's sake.

"I let her do what she can," he said.

But it's unfamiliar terrain that has Sylvia stumped. Venturing outside alone can be downright scary. And that's when this otherwise very independent lady needs a hand.



Sylvia Keyes has a message for those who believe she should live in a nursing home.

"How would you know? You don't sleep in my bed."

She may be legally blind and hearing impaired but Sylvia still lives a relatively independent life. But she still needs help with day-to-day tasks outside of her home.

A carer from the Community Linking Agency arrives at her Boyne Island home at 9am on the dot every Friday.

And at bang-on 1pm that carer leaves.

"I am grateful for's just not enough.

"If you've got to go in to Gladstone that's an hour on travel.

"When you cut it down I'll be flat out doing things like going to the post office, the bank."

A cleaner through Homecare also comes once a fortnight for an hour-and-a-half.

The rest of the time Sylvia has to manage the housework herself.

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