Aged Care Archives - Afea Care Services

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?

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

4 ways to support the elderly during Covid-19

By Esha Oberoi, founder and CEO of Afea Care Services

Founder & CEO
Esha Oberoi

There are now 17 nursing homes across Australia that have had nurses or residents diagnosed with COVID-19.

We know that people over the age of 80 years and those with chronic diseases are the most vulnerable. For over 80’s, approximately 15% of those infected have died. That’s 3 in 20.

We need to be doing absolutely everything we can to protect our most vulnerable at this time.

For elderly persons considering the transition into an aged care home at this time, I would strongly recommend looking at in-home care options until the pandemic passes. Once an illness is caught by one patient within in a residence, the chances of others being infected is very high, as we’ve tragically seen with this virus.

Not everyone in an aged care home needs to be there. Some can manage with daily visits from a carer (support worker). A single carer is undoubtedly safer than a facility full of nurses, allied health professionals and visitors.

Businesses like supermarkets have fortunately been working to protect our most vulnerable through initiatives like a special shopping hour and online deliveries. Neighbours have been coming together to look out for each other and help with essential tasks that may require leaving the house. But everyone needs to do their part to protect those in need.

When people refuse to take this seriously and continue socialising in groups against the advice of the government, they are thinking of themselves only and the disruptions to their own life – not the very real threat their actions pose to those most at risk.

One of the biggest challenges for the aged care sector now will also be managing loneliness in the months ahead, which is already a major issue. Day trips for routine socialisation in groups have been cancelled, so we need to look to technology and one-on-one carers to provide emotional support and socialisation during this time. 

Like every healthcare business, this is a challenging period for us, but we are looking at ways we can help our clients and carers stay connected in the comfort and safety of their homes. Our employees are our family and we are doing everything in our power to maintain the jobs of our 500+ staff, while keeping them connected with the aged and disability care clients they have been carefully matched with based on factors like languages spoken, personal interests and so on.

We’ve introduced a number of new health and safety measures, as well as offering support from afar in the form of video-enabled connection with our care clients.

Here are 4 ways we can all support the elderly through this pandemic:

1. Stay home

The more of us that remain in our homes instead of out unnecessarily, the faster we can contain this virus and return to normality.

2. Offer your neighbours help – from a distance

Many aged and disability care clients need help to do grocery shopping and other tasks. Reach out to your neighbours and see if anyone needs help.

3. Have an emergency plan in place for if main support person falls ill

This should detail medications, tasks requiring support, emergency contact numbers and so on. If the client is with Afea we will have this detailed in our notes for a handover.

4. Ensure any support people are taking additional safety measures

Our carers will all receive an influenza vaccine, complete an online learning module on safe hygiene specific to coronavirus, wear additional personal protective equipment and will not be permitted to work if they exhibit any cold or flu like symptoms or have come into contact with anyone returning from overseas. Check that your carers are doing the same.