Afea Care Services, Author at Afea Care Services

Afea has opened an office in Parramatta!

Afea has opened an office in Parramatta!

Why we’ve chosen Parramatta for the next stage of our journey

We have some big news. This week we opened a new Afea office in Parramatta. This is our second office in Sydney and our third overall (we are also in Chatswood and Melbourne).

We are so excited to be expanding our Afea and Inebura teams into Western Sydney so we can be closer to many of our clients and carers.

Parramatta – where it all began

Did you know our very first office was in Parramatta? Esha started Afea 13-years-ago. She was a sole trader who used to contract to hospitals around Sydney. Her next step was hiring other carers and driving them to and from services.

In her first year, she took out a space in a GP’s practice in Parramatta. It didn’t take long before the doctor became frustrated as his waiting room was full of our carers and clients rather than his own patients!

So. we opened up our own Afea office, and since then we’ve grown from strength to strength.

Our growth journey

We have experienced remarkable growth in the past 13 years. We’ve survived industry reforms that resulted in immediate losses in business. During this time many providers did not survive the reforms. Even in the past year, when roughly 2,000 providers had to close their doors, we have experienced 40% growth and are impacting more people than ever.

We now have over 70 staff in the office and over 800 carers across Sydney and Melbourne.

This week, we opened our Parramatta Hub so our West Team can be more connected to our Western Sydney community.

Why Parramatta?

We have opened a Parramatta hub because many of our carers and clients live around the area. We’re so excited for our Carers to regularly visit our office so we can further strengthen our relationship. They will be able to participate in training sessions and team building days without travelling across Sydney.

We also love the area of Parramatta. It is in a multicultural and loving community which is something we care deeply about. Many of our clients are also based Western Sydney, so we’re looking forward to connecting with them more regularly.

A meaningful milestone

Our Vision is to be the most trusted care provider. As we grow and we see the positive changes in the lives of our clients and their families, and our Carers who look after them, we can see this happen before our eyes.

Our Parramatta Hub has an accessible entertainment space, and we would love for you to drop in for a coffee and chat with us any time!

Ground Floor 17-21 Macquarie Street Parramatta

Why Afea loves Harmony Week

How we can help make sure everyone belongs

You’ve probably heard of Harmony Day, but did you know it’s now celebrated over a full week in Australia? Harmony Week runs from 15th to 21st March 2021 and includes United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is 21st March.

Harmony Week is so important to us at Afea. 45% of Australians were born overseas or have a parent who was. At Afea, many of us come from different cultural backgrounds and we’re so proud of this diversity. We love any reason to celebrate it and break down cultural barriers. Here’s why we love Harmony Week.

Happy diverse team harmony

What Harmony Week means to us

When it comes to diversity, we talk the talk – literally. We speak 40+ languages at Afea and support clients from a wide range of cultures. If a client wants a carer who speaks their language or comes from a similar cultural background to them, we do our best to accommodate that request.

We think the melting pot of diversity makes our company unique. No matter what cultural background you’re from, Afea will always be home. We encourage each other to share more about our backgrounds and try to learn from our differences.

How we’re celebrating Harmony Week

At Afea, we always take time out for Harmony Week. Each year we host a potluck in our office where we share a meal from our backgrounds. Food is such a powerful way to get people together – it’s a way for us to share what the meal means to us and why it’s special. This year will be no different. We will host a COVID-safe potluck and look forward to coming together as a team.

What we’re hoping to achieve this Harmony Week

Sharing a delicious meal is a symbol of what we hope we can achieve from Harmony Week. We come together as equals in Afea but unfortunately, it’s not that way in all communities in Australia. There are many racial inequalities we see every day, including discrimination and unequal access to health and education.

So what can we do? Many of these problems are huge systemic issues that require government support. As individuals, it’s understandable if you feel powerless. But by educating ourselves on each other’s cultures, not discriminating based on difference and teaching our children to do the same, we can create a society that belongs to all.

Here are some things you can do this Harmony Week:

Ask questions

The first step is to learn more about the other cultures around us. When we understand where people come from, it will help us build better relationships.

Start with a friend, neighbour, or colleague who comes from a different culture. Strike up a conversation about their background, ask where they come from and how their family came to Australia.

Learning about different cultures helps grow connections and can help us all learn about the unique perspectives that make up our great country.

Share your story

If you haven’t shared where you come from with many people, this is the perfect time to do it. You could share on a social media platform like Facebook or Instagram and download one of the social media banners on the Harmony Day website. You never know, the story of your family could be the catalyst for changing someone’s opinion about difference.

Or you could invite some friends around for a COVID-safe meal where you share your food and some of your favourite aspects of your culture.

Learn more about your culture

If you’ve grown up in Australia but have family from overseas, this could be a great time to learn more about where you’re from. Have a chat to your family or even see if you can get in touch with relatives overseas. Being proud of where we’ve come from and sharing that with others is an important part of Harmony Week.

Learn more about the cultures that make up Australia

A great way to learn about other cultures is to watch films and TV shows in other languages. There’s never been more access to foreign language films, from SBS and NITV with their huge range, to Netflix and even your local library.

Take the time to learn about Australia’s first people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been here for tens of thousands of years and have a rich culture and great ability to tell stories. Listen to their stories and learn about their culture both past and present

Talk about Harmony Week with your kids

If you have children, they’re probably learning about Harmony Week at school or childcare. However, you could spark further debate at home by discussing why it’s important for everyone to belong and why racism is wrong.

You could even encourage them to enter this Harmony Day Poster competition which is open to all school students in NSW and ACT.

From everyone at Afea, we wish you a Happy Harmony Week! If you’d like to learn more about what languages and cultures our carers represent, please get in touch with us.

Group of people with hearts on their faces

Why we all need to take action to prevent hearing loss

What causes hearing loss, and how can you prevent it?

Today, 3rd March 2021 is the World Health Organisation’s World Hearing Day. Almost 4 million Australians have some form of hearing loss and this number is increasing as our population ages.

Not only that, but many Australians are living with unidentified hearing loss which can affect communication in all areas of life. It’s important that you check your hearing so you can help prevent further hearing loss.

This year’s theme is Hearing Care for ALL! Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate. We all need to be more aware of how to prevent hearing loss and what to do when you suspect you aren’t hearing like you used to. 

What can cause hearing loss?

There are many reasons for hearing loss. The major cause is ageing – nearly everyone experiences some sort of deteriorating hearing as they get older.

Other reasons for hearing loss include:

  • a head injury
  • chronic ear infections
  • years of exposure to loud noises
  • exposure to certain chemicals such as those that treat neonatal infections, malaria, drug-resistant tuberculosis, and cancers
  • listening to very loud music with headphones
  • excess fluid in the ear (this is a common cause of hearing loss in children)
  • infectious diseases including meningitis, measles and mumps
  • a foreign body in the ear canal such as wax

How do you prevent hearing loss?

Most types of hearing loss are permanent, so it’s important to preserve the hearing you have left. There are many other ways you can prevent additional hearing loss.

The number one way is to prevent damage to your ears from loud noises. This could be from wearing earplugs or protective equipment such as earmuffs if you work in a noisy workplace.

If you’re going to a loud live music event, consider wearing ear plugs and take frequent breaks.

Don’t listen to music or TV at over 60% of the volume. You should easily be able to talk to someone two metres away from you when you’ve got music or TV playing.

If you listen to music through headphones, only use them for an hour at a time and then have a break.

Don’t put foreign bodies in your ear like cotton buds, oils, sticks or any other home remedies.

Don’t swim or wash in dirty water to prevent infections.

Make sure your child’s immunisations are up to date so they don’t get diseases that cause hearing loss such as measles and mumps.

What are some signs that you’re experiencing hearing loss?

It may be hard to identify when you’re in the early stages of hearing loss.

Some signs include having trouble understanding people and having to ask them to repeat themselves. You may often think people are mumbling when they talk.

Another sign might also be if you often miss the phone or doorbell ringing and if you need the TV up louder than other people.

What should you do if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss?

The WHO has a screening app called HearWHO where you can check your hearing from time to time. This is important for people at high risk of hearing loss, including those who often listen to loud music, work in noisy places, use medicines that are harmful to hearing, or are above 60 years old.

It’s important that you monitor your hearing and get it checked by a doctor if you have any concerns.

For more information about hearing loss, visit:

Health Direct
The World Health Organisation
The Hearing Services Program


Want to talk to us about supports you can receive? Contact us today

Afea’s highlights of 2020

How we have all made a difference in a tough year

It’s almost the end of the year, a time when we naturally reflect on the last 12 months. We can all agree that this year has been unlike any other. It’s been incredibly challenging for us all. However, we’ve emerged a stronger community as a result, and instead of dwelling on the challenges, we’re celebrating the positives and what we have to look forward to in 2021.

At Afea, our goal is to make a difference. We’re thrilled that despite the circumstances, we’ve been able to increase our impact and are making a difference to even more people. Here are our highlights for 2020.

We launched Inebura

In early 2020, we split Afea into two independent divisions. We now have a second division called ‘Inebura’ which has a different service offering and is more tailored around plan management and support coordination.

Inebura has also launched a custom-built portal which automates NDIS plan management and allows for real-time budgeting so providers payments are made faster and participants can continue receiving services seamlessly.

We made our biggest impact this year

Can you believe that in 2020, we had the strongest growth and made the biggest impact yet since our inception 13 years ago. We have been expanding our teams all year and we now have over 60 head office staff and 700 carers. We are supporting more families in a wider area, and started operations in Melbourne too. We received a Net Promoter Score (service rating) of above 9 out of 10 from both our Carers and Clients, which really highlights for us the difference we’re making in the community.

We opened the doors to our Supported Independent Living homes  

We converted three townhouses into Supported Independent Living homes. The property provides a safe home to our residents to live independently while still being supported by carers and a house manager. Throughout 2020, we have welcomed several new residents to these homes where they are enjoying their new  home and independent way of life..

We partnered with Enliven Housing

We recently partnered with Enliven Housing on their project The Auburn. They have developed specialist disability accommodation apartments and we will provide onsite support from our carers to a group of participants.

This is a very exciting project as they carefully designed the apartments with the latest assistive technologies to achieve Platinum level certification under a number of  a number of NDIS SDA support categories.

We expanded to Melbourne

Earlier in the year, we set up a local Melbourne division of Afea. We noticed that many vulnerable people during lockdown were facing isolation and other challenges, and wanted to provide safe, ongoing support through this time. Since the expansion, we have increased our impact and have hired our 60th local carer. We are looking forward to welcoming more people into our Melbourne family in 2021.

We increased staff and carer training

Our mission is to empower people, and one way to do this is by providing continued education to our people. We used online platforms like Zoom and in combination with socially distant in-person sessions to provide training such as COVID Awareness, Infection Control, Mental Health First Aid, Bowel Care, Catheter Care and more.

We continued to support our clients

As disability and aged care support is an essential service, we continued to support our clients in a COVID-safe manner. We did this by adopting an early Pandemic Plan to ensure the safety of our staff and clients.  

This included:

  • Increased and extra PPE
  • More processes and training for staff
  • Hiring internal registered nurses who could provide extra training for clients, particularly for those with complex needs

We increased meet and greets

At Afea, we’re always learning fresh ways to ensure we’re providing the best care. In 2020, we ramped up the meet and greets between clients and carers before services start. They give everyone an opportunity to have a chat and work out how they’re going to best work together.

We secured a second office in the heart of Parramatta

We have recently signed a lease for a new Parramatta office, which is currently in the initial stages of being refurbished and fitted for our needs. Being in a central location like Parramatta will mean that our support team will be closer to our wonderful carers and clients. We look forward to moving into our new second office in March 2021. We will continue operating from our head office in Chatswood for our North Shore and Eastern Suburbs community.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to our staff, carers, and clients. We have made it through this challenging year together and we are looking forward to supporting our community in more ways in 2021.

How we help our clients with their mental health

Why helping our clients with their mental health is so important at Afea

At Afea, talking about mental health isn’t something we only do on one awareness day or month. It’s pivotal to our workplace culture. We’ve spoken about how we work on mental health at work. As our carers spend most of their day with clients, we thought it was important to highlight how we help our clients with their mental health too.

We have learnt mental health first aid

With one in five of Australians experiencing a mental health illness each year, we recently trained up in mental health first aid. This amazing course gave us the skills to recognise when one of our friends, colleagues or clients is experiencing a mental health emergency and what to do about it. We are honoured to be part of the first million Australians to be trained up in mental health first aid.

We provide companionship services

Loneliness and isolation can have a profound effect on our mental health. A UK survey found that a quarter of people with a disability felt lonely every day. Loneliness has been compounded this year with Covid-19. People with a disability are considered more vulnerable so many people have had extended periods at home to avoid exposure to the virus.

The NDIA has made allowances for funding to be used more flexibly as a result of the pandemic, and people are able to use their funding in different ways. Often our clients would have services that took them out into the community or be involved in activities that are not as safe as they were. As an alternative, Afea carers have been visiting them in their homes to keep them company and do activities with them. It can be as simple as playing games, watching movies together or talking sport! Having this support and someone to spend time with can help reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation and is a good way to use any outstanding funding.

We match carers and clients

When a new client joins us, we give a lot of thought to who we assign as a carer. Many of our clients see their carers every day, sometimes more than even their own family and friends. Which is why we find the best fit for both carers and clients. We match based on interests, cultural background and language so when they’re receiving services, they get along and become close. Feeling connected to someone can be a protective factor against anxiety and depression, so it’s vital that our carers and clients feel this genuine connection.

We check-in and follow up 

Caring for our clients’ mental health is just as important as their physical health. Our carers are so close to their clients that they can tell if they’re having a bad day. If they’re worried about a client for any reason, they report it back to head office. From there, we will have someone check-in with the client or we’ll talk to their family members. Our carers are like part of the family with their clients and always want what’s best for them.

We help our clients access social and community services

It’s not just about helping our clients within the home. We all know how important it is to get out and about for our mental health and it’s no different for our clients. We help our clients access social and community services such as craft groups, dance classes, book clubs or meetups with family and friends. We have provided extra PPE to make sure these social activities can go on wherever possible, even during this pandemic period.

If you want to know more about how we match our carers with our clients and the kind of services we provide, get in touch with us.

Our favourite Australian disability podcasts

What disability podcasts are you listening to?

Have you got on board with the podcast craze? 1.6million Australians regularly listen to podcasts and that number is growing all the time. We love listening to podcasts – it’s such a great way to learn new things and be entertained when we’re going for a walk or doing chores.

We also love the diversity of voices we can hear on podcasts. It allows a whole range of people to share their unique and fascinating stories. We particularly like podcasts that give people with a disability the opportunity to share their stories and opinions. Fortunately, there are many out there that do just that! Here are our top Australian disability podcasts.

ListenAble

You may remember Dylan Alcott, the Australian wheelchair basketballer and wheelchair tennis player. He recently started a podcast called ListenAble with his mate Angus O’Loughlin. They already have a weekend radio program on the Hit Network but started this podcast to talk more about life for people with a disability. They hope to break down the stigma of living with a disability by asking questions you thought were off-limits. They’re very experienced with the radio format so it’s easy to listen to and very entertaining. Listen to it here.

Inform

Inform is a national information hub for people with disabilities that already produces a website and a newsletter. Their podcast comes out monthly and is a conversation for people with disabilities about people with disabilities. It covers some fascinating topics – starting your own business, supported decision making, navigating the NDIS, finding a job. Plus, they speak to lots of inspiring people in the community who are living with a disability. Listen to it here

Disability done different

Father and daughter team Roland and Evie Naufal have candid conversations with people who’ve carved their own path in the disability sector. They want to challenge the traditional ways of doing things. Their podcast is full of relaxed conversations with fascinating people. It’s also peppered with some good-natured bickering between the co-hosts! Listen to it here

Reasonable and Necessary: Making Sense of the NDIS

Dr George Taleporos hosts this podcast which is all about navigating the NDIS. Dr George started podcasting in 2018 so there are lots of podcasts to catch up on. He looks at topics like what to do if you’re not happy with your NDIS plan, how to achieve great outcomes with the NDIS and how the NDIS can do better. Listen to it here.

One in Five

The Melbourne Disability Institute produces the One in Five podcast. They explore some of the complex issues facing people with a disability such as employment, housing, supporting families and the law. They speak to a range of experts who work in the space and many people with a disability. With one in five people living with a disability, they aim to talk about ways everyone can improve the lives of people with a disability. Listen to it here

Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability Podcast: Research to practice

Australasian’s peak body in intellectual disability were early to the podcast phase, creating their first one in 2016. They aim to promote research to inform and influence good practise and policy for people with intellectual disabilities. In their podcast episodes, they speak to researchers about topics as diverse as living in group homes, LBGTQIA+ adults who have intellectual disabilities, political citizenship, good health and more. Listen to it here.

Do you have any other podcast recommendations?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

What is support work and how do you get into it?

Would you make a good disability support worker?

Have you ever thought about getting into disability support work? Here we answer your questions about what disability support work is and how you get into it.

What is a disability support worker?

A support worker or carer helps people with physical or intellectual disabilities in their day-to-day tasks. They have a wide range of tasks and responsibilities and their work can be very varied.

Support workers can help people with personal care such a showering, getting dressed, feeding and taking medication. They can provide practical help with transport, daily chores and making food. They can also provide vital social interaction and take clients out into the community to increase social enrichment and enjoyment.

Carers also provide much-needed emotional support to people with disabilities. They spend a lot of time with their clients, so often become like a close friend or trusted support. Support workers form strong bonds with their clients and become a crucial component in their lives.

What kind of person makes a good support worker?

The most important thing about working in care work is making sure you’ve got the right attitude. Are you passionate about helping others? If you answered yes, then you’re likely to be a great support worker.

As you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your clients, it’s important that you’re a people person and be good at building relationships. You need to be a good communicator as you may be helping your client communicate if they find it difficult themselves.

As you’re going to be working with vulnerable people and be welcomed into their homes, you must be very trustworthy. You always need to look after their health and safety and take responsibility for them.

What qualifications do you need for disability care work?

Although it’s not compulsory to have formal qualifications, some providers do need you to have a certificate III in Support Work, such as this TAFE NSW Course. It’s also a helpful way to learn more about the industry and get clear expectations about what it’s going to be like.

You also need to make sure you a police check, a first-aid certificate and a working with children check if you want to work with children. If you want to help clients by providing transport, you’ll need a reliable car and comprehensive insurance.

What extra talents could you bring to the job?

Every carer is different and brings unique perspectives to the lives of their clients. Think about what your interests are, what kind of client you want and what you’d like to share. Do you love movies? The outdoors? Could you play video games or talk sports all afternoon? Do you have any skills or hobbies that you can use to enrich the lives of your clients?

You may be spending a lot of time with your clients, so you want to be matched with people who you’re likely to get along with. You can use your skills to help your clients achieve their goals, whether it’s being more creative or learning something new.

How would being a support worker fit in with your life?

Being a support worker is a great, flexible job that is ideal for people who don’t necessarily want to work 9-5. People with disabilities need support at all hours of the day (and night!). People who are studying (especially nursing, psychology or social work) often find support work is an ideal part-time job to fit in with their course work. It is also a great, flexible role for those with a family or for people who want varied hours.

At Afea, we make sure we find you clients who are close to where you live so you won’t have to travel too far. We also do our best to find clients who you will fit with. It’s better for the clients and the support workers if everyone gets along.

Want to know more about becoming an Afea carer?

What we learnt doing a mental health first aid course

Why mental health first aid is a crucial skill to know

You’ve probably heard of physical first aid courses and many of you may have done one. But have you heard of mental health first aid? With one in five Australians experiencing a common mental health illness each year, it’s likely to affect us all at some point, directly or indirectly. Afea recently trained a number of staff and Carers in mental health first aid so we can do our best to assist when the need arises. Here’s what we learnt.

What is mental health first aid?

Many of us have experienced a mental health problem but often friends, family and carers aren’t sure how to help. We often haven’t been taught the skills or don’t have the confidence to know what to say. Sometimes saying nothing is the worst thing of all, so we must learn more about how to help someone in a mental health crisis.

Doing a mental health first aid courses teaches you the skills to help someone you’re concerned about. Like physical first aid, it’s the support and care given until the appropriate professional help is received or the crisis is resolved.

Afea colleagues doing a mental health first aid course
Mental Health First Aid Textbook

Why did Afea and Inebura do a mental health first aid course?

This year has been a tough year for many of us and we have seen more participants with mental health conditions. NDIA recognises mental health conditions as a disability and is providing more funding for them than ever before.

At Afea, working on our mental health and our clients’ mental health is one of our key areas of priority. Which is why we provided mental health first aid training for many of our internal staff and support workers. Our independent division, Inebura, also had their Support Coordinators join the training module. Many of our Support Workers came together in Parramatta for the two-day course. It was such a popular topic that other staff couldn’t make it on site chose to do the course remotely in their spare work time.

What did we learn in the course?

We covered typical types of mental health conditions including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety problems
  • Psychosis
  • Substance use problems
  • Gambling problems
  • Eating disorders.

We then learnt first aid for specific situations such as:

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
  • Non-suicidal self-injury
  • Panic attacks
  • Following a traumatic event
  • Severe psychotic states
  • Severe effects from alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behaviours
Afea colleagues doing a mental health first aid course
Mental Health Training

We know from days like RU OK Day how important it is to make sure our friends, colleagues and clients are feeling ok. But if they say they are and we suspect they’re not, what do we do? At this course, we learnt what to look for if we suspect things aren’t ok. We learnt how to have difficult conversations about mental health and how to help our friend access services like a GP or a mental health counsellor.

According to Jack, one of Inebura’s Support Coordinators, this course was invaluable. “The course gave us a 360-degree view of mental health and the different types experienced. It prepared us with how to deal with a person experiencing different kinds of mental illness. It provided us with the tools and strategies to help them overcome the barriers that they’re facing during their difficult journey. Most importantly, it taught us how to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others.”

How do you find out more?

We highly recommend everyone does a mental health first aid course if they can. Find out more at https://mhfa.com.au/

How we work on our mental health at work

Why improving mental health in the workplace is so important at Afea

October is Mental Health Month. It’s a month where we focus on ways to bring awareness to mental wellbeing. For us at Afea though, improving mental health is something we work on all year long. It’s a pivotal part of our workplace culture and is something we are very passionate about.

Wellbeing has always been a focus for us. We believe you can’t look after others if you aren’t looking after yourself. This is why we’ve always taken measures to promote positive mental health and self-care to employees and clients. In 2020, it’s more important than ever that we take the time to look after the mental health of our community. Here is what we do.

Our mental health self-care program

As soon as staff and carers start to work with us, we introduce our mental health self-care program. Our Culture Book has a section dedicated to self-care which includes mindfulness and some easy full-body movements called the Tibetan Rites. Our staff and carers’ health is vitally important. If everyone spends 15-20 minutes a day on themselves, they will see positive improvements in every facet of their lives.

We don’t just talk the talk; we also walk the walk. We start many of our meetings with a sentiment check to see what headspace we are all in. We often have mindfulness sessions throughout the day so everyone can reset and focus on the tasks at hand.

Our CEO Esha Oberoi is our guiding light when it comes to mindfulness and self-care. She shares her self-care routine in her blog, in Facebook Live Sessions and messages to carers and staff. Knowing that this focus on improving mental health at work comes from the very top allows us all to prioritise it in our daily lives.

We tune in

This Year’s Mental Health Month theme is Tune In. They define this on their website as:

“It means being aware of what is happening within you, and in the world around you. Being present by tuning in has been shown to help build self-awareness, help make effective choices, reduce the impact of worry, and build positive connections.”

Tuning in to each other is important for good mental health at work. At Afea, we do this both formally and informally.

We have regular check-ins with our staff and our carers. We have a culture of two-way feedback and authenticity and we encourage our staff and carers to speak up if they have any concerns. Our 1-1s with direct reports are run by the employee so they can talk about what they’ve achieved and what they want to learn. It also provides them with a safe space where they can bring up any worries or suggestions for improvement.

We have an open-door policy which encourages staff to come to us whenever they have concerns. For our remote workers, we also have a group chat that we’re all part of. It gives our Sydney and Melbourne carers and office staff an opportunity to connect and share news, stories and photos. This connection means we tune in to each other and helps improve mental health in the workplace.

We take the opportunity to highlight mental health awareness

It’s important to give people opportunities to talk about mental illness. Sometimes the best way to do this is to acknowledge various awareness days and months, like Mental Health Month and RU Ok Day. We always mark these awareness days in our calendar, no matter how busy we are.

This month, we are having a mindfulness session in the office as well as a yoga session. We are also doing a hip-hop class to help get the blood flowing and create a bonding experience for the office staff.

In September, we wore yellow for RU OK Day and used the day as an extra opportunity to check in with our colleagues, carers and clients. We also recognised World Happiness Day in May with a morning tea to remind each other that we’re a team and we are here for each other. 

How are you tuning in this Mental Health Month?  

How to live independently with dementia

Some tips to help you live at home after a dementia diagnosis

If you have recently been diagnosed with dementia, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. You may wonder how much things will change and whether you’ll continue to enjoy an independent life.

While none of us knows how quickly the disease will develop, a diagnosis doesn’t mean instant dependence. Many people continue to live their life at home with a few small modifications to make things easier. Here are some things to help you live independently for as long as possible.

Make the house as safe as possible

It’s important to prepare your home and make it as safe as possible. Remove any potential trip hazards like throw rugs and power cords on the ground. Try to remove excess furniture so it’s not too cluttered and get rid of any appliances or clothing you’re not using.

Think about what safety mechanisms you can add such as extra railings on stairs or in the bathroom. Find out whether you can set your water heater to a maximum temperature to avoid scalding and install an automatic shut-off switch on the stove. Make sure all the smoke detectors are working and set a reminder to change their batteries every six months.

Research independence devices

Many technical devices can help you maintain independence with dementia. Simple things such as easy to read clocks and large calendars will help with keeping track of time and appointments. There are music players that have easy to use controls and there are even pill dispensers that only release at certain times.

You could also look at devices that are helpful if there’s an emergency. Motion detectors that alert a friend or family member when a person has fallen out of bed. There are also GPS trackers so you can make sure a person living with dementia can be found if they get lost when out and about.

Get organised

It can be useful to set up some organisation habits to reduce overwhelm. You could write down appointments in a diary and leave it in the same place every day next to your keys and wallet. Many people with dementia find it useful to have electronic reminders so they remember when to do certain things. If you have a phone or tablet, there are apps and games made specifically for people with dementia that you could try.

Ask for help from family and friends

If you’re keen to stay independent with dementia, you will need help from time to time. When you’re comfortable, share your diagnosis with your neighbours and ask them to be on standby if you ever need it. Make sure your family is involved in your care and keep them updated on your progress. Ask for help in setting up automatic payments so you don’t forget to pay your bills. If food is a problem, see if someone can set you up with grocery deliveries or meals on wheels.

Get some professional help

If you’re finding it difficult to manage on your own, there are ways you can get help to stay in your own home. You may be eligible for a Home Care Package. This Australian Government initiative helps older people remain living independently at home. It provides a subsidy towards personal care, help with shopping and services such as gardening and housekeeping. You may also receive subsidies for consumables and equipment to help you, such as continence pads, walking aids and other types of assistive technology.

Find out more about how Afea can help with our Home Care Packages