Afea Care Services, Author at Afea Care Services

Our very own Afean Paralympian – Wayne

One of the highlights of the past few months of lockdown has been watching the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games. It was amazing to see these athletes work so hard to represent Australia.  

We recently discovered that we have a Paralympic champion in our ranks! One of our clients, Wayne Maher, represented Australia in the Kick ball in the Seoul Paralympics in 1988.

Memories of the 1988 Paralympics

The 1988 Paralympic Games were significant as they were considered the first Games of the modern Paralympic era. According to the first President of the International Paralympic Committee Dr Bob Steadward: “The 1988 Seoul Paralympics dramatically demonstrated the effects of proper organisation and the shift from sport as rehabilitation to sport as recreation to elite sport.”

 Wayne represented Australia in Slalom, Kick ball and Wheelchair racing.

“Cerebral Palsy Alliance ran their own internal Olympics, and that’s how I got started,” he told us.

There were many challenges in preparing for the Games, particularly as it was the first. Wayne said it was an exciting moment when he found out he’d qualified.

“I was really happy, but also a little anxious. I had to do a lot of competing to qualify and I was very proud of my achievement,” he said.

His sister Lorraine remembers her brother going to the Seoul Paralympics. Although she couldn’t join him to watch, she remembers she also had lots to do to get him ready for competition.

“I had just bought a new sewing machine. You could program it to write ‘Wayne Maher – Australia’. I hit the button, and it made hundreds of labels so we could sew it on all his clothes. Everything had to be labelled,” she told us.

Wayne didn’t win any medals in the Paralympics, but he had better success in the Commonwealth Games.  

Wayne said when he was in the Paralympics, he had more movement with his legs.

“He would race in his wheelchair backwards. He’d push with his foot and go backwards,” Lorraine explained.

 Wayne also remembers enjoying his time in Seoul, particularly “when they let us out without armed guards.”

Fun with Afea Carers

Wayne lives with an acquired brain injury and communicates through a computer and joystick.

After stints in group homes, he’s been living on his own for over 20 years and he loves the independence.

“He really loves it because he’s by himself. He’s got his own things. No one is borrowing them or anything like that,” Lorraine explained.

Wayne can live on his own thanks to his carers who visit multiple times a day. While getting out and about during lockdown was obviously difficult, before the outbreak, his Afea Carers used to take him to the shops, to clubs and to the beach.

Despite his communication difficulties, Wayne’s sense of humour shines through.

“We can still have a good joke. He has a wicked sense of humour!” Lorraine said.

According to Wayne, that’s what he most likes about his Afea Carers.

“I like to joke around with them. Sometimes I call them budi (sic),” he said.

 Thanks for sharing your Paralympic memories with us Wayne!

If you’d like to know more about our disability support services, get in touch

Introducing: The Afean Way

Our company culture takes on a new look

At Afea, our company culture is really important to us. We even have a book dedicated to our goals, mission and values called our Culture Book.

We know we have a strong culture, but we wanted to come up with a clearer definition for it. Which is why we developed ‘The Afean Way’.

What makes us different?

When people join Afea, they realise it’s not like other companies.

According to our People and Culture Manager Joseph Assad: “The way we do business is unique. It’s different to how other businesses operate.”

What makes Afea different is a variety of factors. It’s the way we operate, it’s the way we behave, and it’s the way we think.

We narrowed down those differences to 9 principles that characterise and define the Afean Way.

What is the Afean Way?

At the centre are our values – Authentic, Purposeful, Responsible and Understanding. These values are at the core of every decision we make.

Surrounding these values are 9 principles that characterise the Afean Way. They are:

   -Care & Compassion

   -Can-Do Attitude

   -Being Present with Intent

   -High Performance and Goal Focused

   -Going Above & Beyond

   -Growth and Continuous Improvement

  -Discipline and Commitment

   -Flexible and Adaptive

-Family Focus

The Afean Way

When new employees join, they often have heard a lot about our culture and resonate with what it stands for.

“When they’re here, they feel it as well. They feel that family focus. They feel that we’re present and have good intentions, that we care and are compassionate. Going further, that we’re disciplined, have a high-performance culture and are goal focused. We have a can-do attitude. We’re continuously improving and growing,” Joseph said.

How does our culture impact our daily operations?

Everyone who works at Afea lives by these principles and the senior management team takes notice.

“We have ‘Employee of the Month’ awards for each of our Chatswood and Parramatta offices. The individuals presented with those awards have demonstrated alignment with our culture,” Joseph explained.

People like Milan who won a recent Employee of the Month Award. In his nomination, they described him as being always helpful with a positive attitude. He always goes above and beyond to help everyone out, no matter how busy he is.

Another example is Sally, who hasn’t been at Afea for very long but has already found her home. Her nominee described her as having a happy attitude that is contagious. As a leader, she always supports her team and they trust in her.

How does culture lead to success?

According to Joseph, it’s sometimes hard to measure culture.

“Sometimes it’s just a feeling. Defining it is difficult. We live it and feel it,” he said.

However, our culture has led to many recent successes. Earlier in the year, we were ranked one of Australia’s Best Places to Work in the Australian Financial Review BOSS Magazine.

We also won Employer of Choice for Sydney Metro in the 2021 Business Awards, Delivered by Business NSW.

These awards are thanks to the contribution of staff who make our organisation a great place to work. It shows the value our people hold in our culture.

What’s more important is how our culture affects the way we care for our clients. We hear every day the difference our Afea support workers and coordinators make in the lives of the families we support.

Ultimately, the Afean Way helps us to fulfil our core mission – To be the Most Trusted Care Provider.

Want to join us at Afea?

Our 12-day challenge for Mental Health Month

Looking after our mental health at Afea   

With everything that’s been going on with lockdowns and isolation, many of us have found it challenging to prioritise our mental health.

Maybe you’re busier, you have more caring responsibilities than normal and you don’t have time to prioritise yourself? Or perhaps the social isolation and loneliness have made you feel unmotivated to try anything new?

It’s important that we work on our mental health as often as we can. Good mental health is how we cope with these life stressors and take part in our community.

October is Mental Health Month, and the theme is ‘Look after your mental health, Australia’.

Our People and Culture Manager Joseph Assad explains how Afea has been prioritising mental health throughout this lockdown.

He also shares our 12-day challenge that everyone can try to help improve mental health.

We all need connection

At Afea, looking after our mental health is a big part of our culture. We’re very passionate about supporting our team to have good mental health and we try to provide as many tools as possible to help them.

We’ve stepped it up a notch over the past few months of lockdown. We’ve introduced lots of new programs to help support our Afea staff who are working from home.

We’ve had online yoga and Zumba training sessions, a STEPtember challenge and even a virtual Taronga Zoo tour.

However, our most popular idea was something a little different – we gave everyone a $20 Uber Eats voucher.

It wasn’t so much about giving everyone a day off cooking (although that was certainly appreciated!). It was more about our teams relaxing and sharing a lunch together.

Our team in lockdown is stuck at home and isolated from each other. They are socially distant in all senses of the word.

By giving a simple voucher it allowed everyone the opportunity to forget about work. They could sit back, relax and interact in the way they ordinarily would in the office.

Connecting with our friends and colleagues is an integral way of working on our mental health.

We’re learning about resilience

Resilience is being able to cope with tough times and it’s something we’ve all needed a bit more of over the past 18 months.

We wanted to make sure our staff had the resilience skills they needed to cope with the current situation and any other future challenges that come their way.

There are lots of ways to strengthen resilience, so we set up team training sessions that focused on how we were facing some challenges that we were experiencing.

It gave us all an opportunity to have an open discussion with the people they work closely with.

R U OK day with the Afea Tribe

Our 12-day challenge for mental health

Another initiative that proved to be a great success was our daily challenges. These were challenges posed by our Learning and Development Specialist to help us try different things.

We shared how we were going in our company intranet portal – Employment Hero. It was a wonderful chance for us to understand a bit more of each other’s lives and share how we’re really doing.

Here is the 12-day mental health challenge if you’d like to give it a try.

Monday Day 1: Meditation challenge

Whether it’s one minute or 60 minutes, it doesn’t matter how long you meditate for. Starting the habit is the important bit.

You could try an app like Smiling Mind to give you some pointers.

Tuesday Day 2: Digital detox

This can be tough, but today’s challenge is to reduce your reliance on your phone or other devices. Try to stay off your phone all day or just turn it off for an hour before bed.

Wednesday Day 3: Swap a Netflix binge for a book binge

You might just want to substitute one episode for a bit of reading or swap your entire night of TV for a good book.

Thursday Day 4: Exercise… your mind

Challenge your mind with a mind puzzle. Whether it’s a crossword, Sudoku or even Tetris, today is about giving your brain some exercise.

Friday Day 5: Push up challenge

The push-up challenge shouldn’t be about beating other people. It’s all about beating your best. Get an extra push up in each time you try.

Saturday and Sunday Day 6 & 7: Cookie challenge

No matter whether they’re healthy or unhealthy, the challenge is to create your best batch of cookies. Cook with your kids, your partner, roommates, or just enjoy some time cooking solo.

Monday Day 8: Share your inspiration

Share with your colleagues where you turn to when you need some inspiration. It could be an influential leader, an entrepreneur, sportsperson, or some other leader in your life. There is no right or wrong.

Tuesday Day 9: Sleep

Go to bed one hour earlier tonight. You may not fall asleep right away, but it will give you a chance to wind down and relax.

Wednesday Day 10: Let’s get walking

The challenge is to take a 10-15 break and go for a walk around your block, up and down your street or in the park. Whatever works for you.

Thursday Day 11: Share what keeps you motivated

In lockdown, we often have to be creative to keep our routine going. Share your tips on how you stay motivated with your colleagues.

Friday Day 12: Share your WFH life

Share a photo or create a meme that represents Work from Home or lockdown life for you.

Working on our mental health is ongoing

What we realised from our team lunch date, resilience training and 12 Day Challenge is that we need to work on our mental health every day.

We all need to make the effort to stay connected with each other. We need to give ourselves the time and space to think about what makes us feel happy, healthy and inspired.

If you’re finding it hard to work on your mental health, it might help to talk to a professional. Chat to your GP or contact one of these organisations for some support:

Find out how we help our clients with our mental health.

From STEPtember and beyond: How we care for our complex needs clients

This month, many of us Afeans are doing the STEPtember challenge to raise funds for people with cerebral palsy. We’re dutifully taking 10,000 steps every day for 30 days. We hope the money we raise will go towards vital support like customising a wheelchair for a child or even help fund research to better understand the genetic causes of cerebral palsy.

STEPtember for Cerebral Palsy

For many of us, supporting people through complex care needs is not something we do just in September. At Afea, we work every day to provide care and support for some of our beautiful clients who live with a variety of conditions, like cerebral palsy.

Jesse is one of these Afeans. He has worked at Afea for three years, mainly as a Care Coordinator. Here he explains what he does in his role to facilitate care for Michael, one of our clients with cerebral palsy. He explains in his words

It’s important to listen

I’ve been a Care Coordinator for Michael for a few years. During that time, I’ve built a great rapport with him and his wife Janet.

Michael is almost non-verbal, although when I listen carefully, I can understand what he is saying. I think it’s important to take the time to listen to our clients with complex needs.

I think you should always do your best to understand what they’re communicating.

The nature of Michael’s disability limits his capacity to lead a normal life. Because of that, I understand how vulnerable he is. It’s so important to find him the right supports to help him achieve his goals.

For Michael, his primary goal is to have a meaningful life with dignity. He has 24 hour supports to help him with everything from showering and daily needs, cooking and cleaning and someone there overnight to make sure he stays safe and secure.

Finding specialist carers for someone with complex care needs

For people with physical disabilities like Michael, it’s important you find the right carers. In my role as Care Coordinator, I had to make sure every person who cared for him had the right training.

They need to have completed hoist training so they can move Michael out of his bed or chair and transfer him into other rooms.

They need experience with manual handling and using a pelican belt.

We also sometimes use our Registered Nurses for training due to some specific complex care needs.

It’s also important to have Support Workers who have plenty of experience. Some people may have done some training in an aged care facility, but it’s different working in NDIS because the work is so broad, dependent on needs.

Michael was in hospital last year after having surgery on his neck. After the surgery Michael had two Support Workers with him while he was there providing personal care, feeding him and giving him social support.

An occupational therapist also trained them to massage his neck and other areas where he had difficulties, like his hips. This helped him recover better after his surgery.

An ongoing relationship with Michael

I have to admit that it’s sometimes emotional work. I‘ve built a rapport with Michael and I see what he goes through. I can only do my best to facilitate his needs to help him live a meaningful life.

Recently, Michael had an issue with his wheelchair. There were a few issues with getting a repairer before his OT assessment. So, I went over in my own time and fixed his wheelchair. He appreciated that.

I wish I could do more to help him, although I visit when I can. I’ve recently taken on a new role at Afea but lucky for me, I will still be assigned to Michael and Janet, and even have access to a company car to help me get there. I can continue being there every step of the way, as much as I can.”

If you’d like to know more about our complex care support services, get in touch

How we’re providing virtual disability support services during lockdown

Many of our clients need daily disability support services and they are continuing during lockdown. We are doing everything we can to keep you safe and supported during this tough time.  

However, for some of our social support clients, it’s sometimes a safer option to suspend services. This is a difficult choice for clients and carers and is one that is made on a case-by-case basis .

For some of our clients, social support is vital and they still want to connect with their carers. One of our carers Farhiya has found a unique way she can still support her clients when she can’t see them face-to-face.

Here she explains.

My caring journey with Afea

I’ve always loved caring. I trained as a nurse in Africa before coming to Australia. I did various courses when I arrived and started working with Afea about 5 years ago.

I love caring and working with people and helping them. My clients are like part of my family. They love me; I love them.

How I’m providing services during lockdown

Some of my clients can’t be put on hold during lockdown because they need daily help. But a few of my clients need social support, so I wanted to give them that without the risk of seeing them face-to-face.

One of my clients is a child with autism. He finds it hard to communicate, so we usually spend our sessions reading and I engage with him to help him communicate better.

When I told his family that due to lockdowns we couldn’t meet face-to-face, they asked if we could do it over zoom. They organised some books we can read together, and we read them together online.

It’s helping him engage and communicate better, even during lockdown. The family is happy, the mother and father are so happy.

Singing is helping us get through lockdown

I have another client who I provide social supports to. This client I’ve had for about 3 years and whenever I am with her, the time always goes so fast. We always have so much fun together.

This client loves to sing and loves karaoke. So I thought that could be a fun thing to do together online.

She sends me the song she wants to sing and I look it up on YouTube. Then we zoom and I share my screen with her so she can see the pictures and the words. Then we sing together! It is always so much fun.

If you’d like to know more about our disability support services (both virtual and in person) get in touch

Your questions answered about the COVID-19 vaccine

A recent survey found that many disability support workers don’t have confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine. The survey found that most support workers agree that people being vaccinated is the best way to stop the pandemic. However, they admitted they feel concerned about the side effects and safety information of the vaccines available in Australia.

At Afea, we want our disability and aged care support workers to feel safe and supported. With news and developments about the vaccines coming out every day, it’s normal to feel concerned and maybe even hesitant about getting a vaccine. So, we thought we’d look at some of the common questions from our carers and provide answers from evidence-based sources.

Are disability support workers eligible for a vaccine?

Yes, as a health care worker who provides care for a vulnerable group, disability support workers are eligible for a free COVID-19 vaccine. To find out where you can get this vaccination, visit the Eligibility Checker.

Will I have to pay for a COVID vaccine?

No. Everyone in Australia can get a free COVID-19 vaccine if they want to.

Can I choose which vaccine I get?

No. There are currently two types of vaccines – the Oxford AstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. They have been prioritised to different groups. If you are:

If you’d like to learn more about the different vaccines and which group gets what, watch this video from Dr Lucas De Toca, (COVID-19 Primary Care Response First Assistant Secretary).

What are the risks of the vaccines?

As with any vaccine, there are some risks of side effects. Common side effects with both vaccines include:

  • injection site pain or tenderness
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • fever and chills

Less common Pfizer side effects

Other less common Pfizer side effects include:

  • redness at the injection site
  • nausea
  • enlarged lymph nodes
  • feeling unwell
  • pain in limb
  • insomnia
  • itching at the injection site.

These side effects are usually mild and usually go away within one or two days. Here is some more information about side effects from the Pfizer vaccine.  

Less common AstraZenica side effects

The AstraZenica vaccine has been associated with a rare side effect called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia (TTS). This side effect is very rare – the rate of TTS is about 6 cases per million people vaccinated. However, the rate is estimated to be higher (20-40 cases per million) in those

under 50 years of age. This is why AstraZenica isn’t recommended for those under 50. Here is some more information about side effects from the AstraZenica vaccine.

Were the vaccine approvals rushed through?

You may have heard that the COVID-19 vaccine was developed quicker than other vaccines, which may worry you. The reason it was quicker wasn’t because they rushed through the development process.

It was because the urgency of the pandemic allowed researchers and developers to prioritise working on the vaccine. There was also a lot of funding to develop new technologies that helped scientists understand the virus quicker and in more detail.

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration made a full and thorough assessment of the vaccines before approving them here. They could review all clinical trial data as it became available rather than waiting for it to be published. This also sped up the process. Read more about the vaccine approval process here.

Can I read about the vaccines in my language?

The Australian Federal Government has translated vaccination information into many languages. Visit this page to find your language.

I’m still not sure. Where can I get more trustworthy information?

Doctors and health professionals have answered many common COVID-19 vaccine questions.

Dr Norman Swan also has a great podcast called ‘Coronacast’ on the ABC which answers your questions about the pandemic.

We always recommend that if you have any health-related questions, talk to your own doctor. They can talk you through your concerns and help you make the right decision based on your own health and circumstances. 

Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

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.