Stepping up in challenging times
It’s uncertain times for all, but we have a particular responsibility to consider how we best support older Australians and those living with disabilities or mental health issues during this COVID-19 pandemic.
As these individuals increasingly self isolate, we expect to see a rise in the issues that come with isolation - depression, loneliness and not to mention an increase in the anxiety we are already experiencing with this pandemic.
Self isolation also presents logistical challenges like getting to shops to buy basic necessities and with the current panic in shops, this out of home trip can be very anxiety provoking.
Careseekers is an online platform that directly connects independent aged care and disability support workers with families and individuals needing in-home care and support.
“The workers on our platform deliver a lot of social support to members of the community who are quite isolated due to their mental health issues or age. Removing this social support will only increase these issues and we are very concerned about this impact. We know that self-isolation is the best form of protection against COVID-19 so we are trying to be creative in how we can support people during this period without compromising their health” said Marissa Sandler, Careseekers CEO .
*“Trips into the community can be replaced by phone calls from support workers. Just hearing another voice on the other side of the phone can reduce these feelings of loneliness. Workers can do supermarket shopping and run essential errands, like getting to the pharmacy for those self-isolating. Reduced social contact and feeling unable to get essential goods can negatively impact mental health. These times need us to be creative around how we can deliver these supports and services”. *
Good quality workers are already in high demand. They deliver essential daily assistance to some of our most vulnerable members of the community - assistance with personal care, getting up and dressed, toileting, meal preparation. We need to be prepared for if and when this workforce is hit by the virus or impacted by other measures if they come, like school closures.” says Marissa Sandler.
At Careseekers we are also doing what we can to bolster the workforce of in-home aged care and disability support workers.
Careseekers is currently working to build a secondary workforce to step in and cover some of these services in if necessary. There are many workers in sectors like hospitality and tourism who will increasingly find themselves without jobs over the next few weeks. At Careseekers we are actively working with these people to transfer their skills into skills relevant to in-home care and support. “We are not talking about the delivery of complex medical assistance rather those essential daily living tasks. We are starting to build this secondary workforce now. While it is not needed today, we are seeing that good preparation is key to addressing this pandemic and its impact on society.” Commented Marissa Sandler.