Tips for Carers in Challenging Times

The COVID_19 pandemic and physical distancing measures mean that we’re all staying home more and missing many of our normal routines and activities – and it appears that life will not return to normal for a while.

It’s not an easy situation for anyone, but we know it is particularly challenging for family members and carers who already have the often stressful and demanding job of looking after someone who is living with a disability or in a wheelchair.  

Many of the face-to-face services we have come to rely on for help and the events we had been looking forward to, are cancelled or greatly reduced. This places even more pressure on carers to deliver everything themselves. With more to do and fewer opportunities to take a break, carers may be feeling more overwhelmed and isolated than usual.

However, reducing the spread of the virus remains paramount and keeping our loved ones safe and healthy has never been more important. So we have put together some ideas to help make life a little easier and help carers (our heroes!) navigate these uncertain times:

1. Plan Ahead

We may not be able to control the situation, but we can control how we respond to it! Creating a plan or list of things you need to do each day or week will help you stay organised in these difficult times. Having a regular timetable to follow will give you back some control and certainty, make sure you don’t forget anything and can even give you something to look forward to!

Include any medical and therapy appointments, meals, work and learning time, and don’t forget to schedule exercise, your favourite TV shows, chats with friends and other fun activities too…

2. Access to Transport

If you’re self-isolating having access to transportation for essential travel and activities (like medical appointments and grocery shopping) is important. But not everyone has their own private vehicle or wheelchair friendly transport.

While there are some accessible taxi’s and ride-share vehicles available, they need to be booked in advance (another item for your plan or to-do list!) and you’ll have to ensure physical distancing, hygiene and sanitation protocols are followed.

There is another option… We have partnered with Hertz Australia to offer FREE 24 hour hire of a wheelchair converted Kia Carnival and give you the opportunity to test drive one of our vehicles, get some errands done or take a mini-road trip. You can rest assured knowing that every car has been thoroughly cleaned and sanitised and we can even run you through all of the features and options via video chat! Click the link above to read more and book a wheelchair accessible Hertz rental car!

3. Stay Connected

Technology and video chats via Facetime and Zoom have allowed us to stay in touch with friends and family throughout the pandemic. Some people would even say they’ve felt more connected and supported than ever before as a result! Video chat has also given us convenient access to doctors, physiotherapists and other health professionals through Telehealth.

All you need is a smart phone and internet connection but using a tablet, laptop or streaming to your TV can be a little easier on the eyes. If you don’t already have video chat set up, we highly recommend you do and if you’d like to take your home tech set-up to the next level check out this blog – Top 7 Devices and Apps for Wheelchair Users!

4. Good Self-Care

We need to be physically and mentally healthy to be able to care for someone else, especially if they have a physical or psychological disability – so looking after ourselves is crucial. Eating well and getting enough sleep are a really great start, but here’s three other ways to look after your health and wellbeing:

  • Spend time outdoors – studies show that walking for just 10 – 15 minutes can do wonders for your mood, mental health and creativity, so take a walk around the block or neighbourhood, or simply enjoy a warm cuppa in the sunshine.
  • Ask for help – sometimes just talking to someone can help relieve tension and worries, so pick up the phone and call a friend for a chat. There’s also free counselling services from Beyond Blue or call the Disability Help Line if you’re struggling with your caring role.
  • Try yoga or meditation – there are lots of free and paid classes available online or check out our blog – 5 Yoga Poses for Wheelchair Users! Benefits of adding a regular yoga class to your weekly plan include improved strength, posture, flexibility, sleep, mental focus, mood and much more.

5. Assistive Tools

Life is complicated enough, but there are lots of tools and tricks available to make it a little easier?! Check out the range of independent living products available that can make some of those tricky or tiring daily tasks simple and safe – including things like shower chairs, reaching aids, mini floor ramps, back supports, sleep therapy systems, one-touch can and bottle openers and lots more.

While many products have been designed for people with physical limitations in mind, anyone can use these tools and enjoy having a little extra support around the house. You can read more about Innovative Products for People with Disabilities on our blog. 

Everyone has been affected by this pandemic, in one way or another – we really are in this together! We invite you to stay connected and chat with us via Facebook where we regularly share news, events and info to help us all get through these unprecedented and tough times!

Call our friendly team on 1300 660 773 if you’d like more information about our wheelchair access vehicle conversions and to set up an obligation free consultation and demonstration session via online video chat or at your home – with our strict COVID-safe processes in place.

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