Our Stories Archives - Afea Care Services

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.

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?

How Supported Independent Living helps participants achieve their goals

If your goal is to increase your independence while still being supported by carers that really care, one of our Supported Independent Living facilities might be for you.

Here we speak with our Accommodation Manager, Sri. He explains how our Supported Independent Living homes can help you achieve more independence.

What is Supported Independent Living?

In Supported Independent Living homes, you live independently with the support of an accommodation manager and your Afea carers.

At Afea, we have two supported independent living facilities in Sydney. The first is our Oxley Park Homes, which comprises three recently refurbished townhouses with private backyards. These homes are ideal for young male NDIS participants with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities.

Our residents enjoy playing basketball, watching TV, movie nights and BBQs among other activities. Often the boys come up with ideas to plan a day trip exploring nearby national parks, the Blue Mountains or one of Sydney’s beautiful beaches.

Our other Supported Independent Living home is our St Clair Women’s Home. We can provide around the clock support in this spacious four-bedroom home for young women living with psychosocial or intellectual disabilities with low to high care needs.

The girls at St Clair enjoy their walks, going out shopping with carers, engaging in arts and craft sessions, and let’s not forget make-up and hair styling.

How do you help clients achieve their goals in Supported Independent Living?

Sri: We create a care plan for each person which includes what their interests are and what goals they want to achieve. Then the carers can work with the clients really closely to achieve those goals

We support people to live as independently as possible. It doesn’t mean we do things for them, we provide support for them to do it themselves. We help them build the skills to be as independent as possible.

What are some examples of goals that have been achieved?

Sri: We had one particular resident who had very challenging behaviours, having always lived in institutional care. She moved in with us and we created a routine for her, and helped her become more engaged with us and her social workers.

When she joined us, she knew little about cooking so we helped her learn some new dishes. She is now so happy and chatty with the care workers.

The last time she had her assessment, her support practitioner complemented the improvements in her behaviour and how well we must be working with her.

Unexpectedly, the lockdown has provided another opportunity for our residents to learn new skills. We’re helping our residents use more technology like laptops and phones. They can keep in touch with family and do psychology sessions online. It’s been another way of building capacity and building new skills during the unfortunate lockdown. It was initially quite challenging for some of the residents to access everything online, but we’ve been able to teach them a lot about how to stay safe.

What do you find most challenging?

Sri: It can be difficult when there is a new resident who isn’t used to the routine. We have streamlined many activities and processes so when something is not working, we can more easily identify the issue and make a change. This way, we can be on top of everything before there are any incidents.

It’s also been difficult recently with the restrictions. We try to do more activities inside the house like cooking competitions, movie nights, video games. We’ve focused on keeping our clients busy inside the house so they can maintain their mental health and not get bored. That’s been an enormous challenge for our residents that we’re working through together.

For our clients with psychosocial disabilities, if they stay in the house too often it can trigger psychotic episodes which can put their mental health in danger. It’s been important to focus on engaging with them and providing safe and risk-free activities during the lockdown. For instance, we’re installing a basketball hoop for the boys to have fun and be active without having to leave the home.

If you’d like to know more about our Supported Independent Living facilities, get in touch.

“How Afea helped me discover my true potential” – Archna Sharma

If you’ve called Afea recently, you may have spoken to our concierge, Archna. She came to us in an unusual way. Before Archna started working with us… she was one of our clients! Here Archna explains how Afea helped her grow into a confident and balanced person.

How I found Afea

I didn’t think I needed support as I’d always done everything on my own. I’d been to uni, I’d lived on my own, I thought I was fine.

But looking back, I wasn’t in a great place. I was suffering from pretty severe anxiety and depression. It got to where I couldn’t even go to the local grocery store because I was too scared. My anxiety had become debilitating.

My friend introduced me to Afea two years ago. She reminded me it’s often the people who can’t ask for help who need it the most.

It was so refreshing to let down my guard and take away all the biases I had around asking for help.

How Afea helped me

I started with a few support services to help me get out and about. Just having someone to hold your hand can help show you that the world isn’t such a scary place. The Afea carers know they can’t force someone to change. Their secret is shining the guiding light so you can see things more clearly.

Over time, my entire perspective changed. I realised that I’d built things up to be so big in my mind that I couldn’t find a way out of my thoughts.

The combination of seeing a psychologist, taking medication for a short amount of time and my Afea carers helped me realise I can do anything I want to do. By having someone right there at side, they showed me I could do it.

Archna with some Afea Carers, clients and leaders at the Parramatta Hub Opening

How things have changed

My path has gone in a completely different direction over the past two years. I went from being too scared to leave the house to enrolling in TAFE courses because I want to learn more. I recently completed a health administration course, and I just enrolled in a certificate in pathology collection.

I’ve even had a career change. I worked for years in the fitness industry, but I had lost interest in it. I recently started a new job…. at Afea! That’s right, I’ve gone from receiving Afea services to working at Afea.

I’m a concierge, which means I answer phones and make sure clients and carers receive the help they need. Working at Afea has completely broadened my horizons and opened my mind up to other peoples’ way of thinking.

Archna at work with Effie

What the future looks like

Two years ago, I was living life in survival mode. Getting by, scraping through. Now I’ve learnt life shouldn’t be like that. I’m learning to appreciate things and live my life in the moment.

There are days when I get fearful, but I’m more attuned to those feelings and know how to deal with it in a more abundant way. That’s the fundamental difference for me.

I know those feelings are going to arise since we’re all human. But I can manage it a lot better because I now have confidence in myself.

Why we’re Mindful in May

Esha Oberoi shares her secrets to success
Afea CEO & Founder Esha Oberoi

By Afea Founder and CEO Esha Oberoi

Have you heard of the Mindful in May movement? It’s a global event that encourages us all to get started with daily mindfulness. Started by a doctor trained in psychiatry, Dr Elise Bialylew, it combines mindfulness training with an optional charity component to raise money for clean water projects. 

How’s your mental health?

Mental health problems are common. During our lives, over half of us will face some sort of mental health problem. Approximately 20% of Australians between 16-85 experience mental illness in any one year.

I’m sure you’ll agree the last year hasn’t helped. The impact of COVID-19 has meant a quarter of us have thought more about our mental health. 18% of Australians have used a mental health support service since the beginning of March 2020.

Mental illness has a huge economic cost too. A report last year found mental illness and suicide in Australia costs us $220 billion a year in lost economic participation and productivity. It’s an astounding number.

How mindfulness can help with our mental health

Even if you haven’t accessed a mental health service in the last year, many of us could probably do with some help. With the social isolation of lockdown, health anxiety, unemployment or underemployment, financial strains and home schooling, it’s been a difficult year.

While no one is saying mindfulness is a miracle solution, it is a useful and powerful tool that can help all of us manage this stress. So how does it work? It helps us train our minds so we don’t ruminate about the past or fear the future. It allows us to remain in the present to achieve clarity and perspective.

How do you do it?

Here are the tips we share in our Mindfulness sessions at Afea Care Services.

1. Stop and sit

The first step is to get yourself into a comfortable position. You don’t have to lie down or sit crossed legged if that doesn’t work for you. Just make sure you have a comfortable space and some time. Start with 5 minutes and build it from there.      

2. Still yourself

Focus your attention on the present. People often think you need to empty your mind, but that’s not the way it works. Simply pay attention to the present moment without judgement. Focus on a sound such as your breath or some background noise.

3. Other thoughts are ok

If you notice your mind wandering, that is normal and absolutely ok. Just notice them and let them pass. Then try to focus on the present again.

 4. Practice makes perfect

The more you practice, the better you’ll become, and the longer you’ll be in mindful meditation without distractions. In time, you’ll notice how it improves your perceptions and reactions in your day-to-day life.

Highlights from our recent Mindfulness and Self-Care Workshop with Carers.

Why we should practice mindfulness at work

At Afea Care Services, practicing mindfulness is something we encourage. We often hold mindfulness sessions throughout the month to give everyone a chance to reset and refocus.

We also encourage our carers to have mental health conversations with their clients and introduce mindfulness if they can.

Mental health still has a stigma, particularly in workplaces. It’s time we open up the conversation and be honest about the way we’re feeling. Introducing guided meditations during Mindful in May at work is one way we can all start this important conversation.

Afea ranked one of Australia’s Best Places to Work

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve been recognised as one of Australia and New Zealand’s Best Places to Work! We’re ranked 3rd in the annual list, published in the Australian Financial Review BOSS Magazine.

This is an enormous achievement for Afea. There were over 700 organisations considered and they chose us after doing an assessment, including a staff survey and a written submission.

In a year when many workplaces cut staff and saw reduced morale, we soared. Not only did we increase our staff, we added a new office in Parramatta and we found alternative ways to connect and grow.

Why is Afea a great place to work?

Officially, we received an AFR Boss Best Places to Work award because of our Anniversary Bonus scheme. In this scheme, we award our employees a bonus on each work anniversary so that they feel increasingly valued for their time.

We love that we received the award for this scheme, as it’s a wonderful way to give back to our employees. However, there are lots of other reasons Afea is the best place to work.

AFR Best Places to Work
Afea is one of Australian Financial Review BOSS Best Places to Work

1. We make a difference

Our number one goal is to be the most trusted care provider. Every day, we come to work with this in mind. Whether we care for one of our amazing clients or provide support from the office, we are always trying to make a difference.

There is nothing better than speaking to a client and finding out what goals they’ve achieved, thanks in part to the support of our carers and staff.

2. We promote positive mental health

We know we can’t take care of others until we are taking care of ourselves. At Afea, we have a huge emphasis on working on our mental health. We have free meditation sessions for both staff and carers, an open culture and regular catch ups so we can bring up any issues we’re having.

We’ve even done a mental health first aid course to give us the skills to help our family, friends, colleagues and clients.

3. We celebrate our differences

We think it’s important to learn more about each other and celebrate what makes us all special. Afea is an incredibly diverse workplace, and we like to celebrate that. Whether it’s through Harmony Week or various cultural celebrations, we love finding out how our differences can help us learn more about each other.

Everyone who works at Afea already thinks it’s the best place to work.

But it’s wonderful that it’s now official 😊

Would you like to learn more about working at Afea? Join us!  

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

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

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?