19 March 2020
As COVID-19 takes hold across the world, it is becoming inevitable that self-isolation is likely to occur for all of us at some point. For many people this will be a tough, but necessary period of social isolation. Many will miss being surrounded by friends and family and struggle with not being able to take part in our favourite activities and hobbies. It shows us how important friendship and connection are in our lives and the struggles we experience when these things are missing.
For far too many, particularly the elderly and those with disabilities, this scenario is representative of their day-to-day lives. At Interchange Australia, we offer a range of group-based supports that get these groups of people out amongst the community where they can enjoy activities together and establish connections with others. Our programs have always proven successful, with many lifelong friendships formed.
In response to the COVID-19 situation and social isolation requirements, Interchange Australia would like to reassure our surrounding community that the health and safety of both our clients and staff are our number-one priority and we have developed a range of measures in line with the NSW Department of Health to keep everyone in our care both safe as well as socially active. Of course, these measures are subject to change as the situation changes and we have plans in place to address whatever comes our way.
What can you do to keep yourself and other more vulnerable people safe?
• Follow directives from the NSW Department of Health and follow all government imposed restrictions.
• If you become unwell, self-isolate and seek medical advice.
• Practise good hygiene (washing hands well with soap and water or sanitiser; coughing and sneezing into your elbow or tissue, disposing of the tissue straight away and then washing your hands).
• Follow social distancing measures: stay at least 1.5m from others, avoid personal contact and avoid social gatherings of 50 or more people.
• Avoid busy crowded areas.
What can you do to help yourself and others during periods of social isolation?
• Check on your more vulnerable neighbours who you think might be alone such as the elderly, disabled or health impaired every once in a while. See if they need anything when you are heading out to the shops, it could save their life.
• Call your friends and family often and talk to them on the phone.
• Use social media to maintain contact with your loved ones while self-isolating.
While these things can’t replace the feeling of communicating in person, they do help with alleviating loneliness. If you are experiencing loneliness in your day-to-day life and would like to know how you can join some of our wonderful social activities and make new friends in a fun and safe environment, feel free to give Interchange Australia a call on 02 4868 6688 or email us at [email protected] alternatively you can view our website at www.interchangeau.org