To say that the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it would be an understatement. In a few months the distant coronavirus we heard about in Australia on January 2019 became a massive part of our lives. Individuals with disability all over the globe and especially electric wheelchair users began understanding the effects of a global pandemic. The coronavirus did not only change life as we know it but it also united everyone in the community. As registered NDIS providers, disability equipment providers and advocates for inclusivity and disability , we know how much Covid-19 lockdown Sydney has impacted our community. Everyone of us on this planet has felt the impact of Covid-19. But how did these events unfold in Australia?
Impact on Disability: This tremendously impacted workers from earning their income, and also caused periods of isolation, increased depression and disruption of education for children. Many children funded with NDIS and had a disability had reduced support periods during that time. However in middle/late 2020, the NDIS reported that they were being more flexible with how NDIS funds were utilised and provided funding for clients requiring technology to receive their remote support such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy or exercises or even appointments. You can contact Gilani Engineering on 02 8740 8963 to use your NDIS funding to purchase Ipads, tablets or any other technological supports.
In June 2021, Greater Sydney Lockdown occurred and began with the eastern suburbs of Sydney and slowly travelled inward to the LGAs of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool. Gladys Berejiklian NSW premier, then announced on the
The pandemic has changed how we work, learn and interact as social distancing guidelines have led to a more virtual existence, both personally and professionally.
Now we no longer take face to face interaction for granted, working from home has become the norm and so has an interrupted schedule for all our children.
Many individuals have reported that COVID-19 have caused dramatic changes to their lives and their perspectives. There seems to be no end in sight for the residents of the greater Sydney Region
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has triggered a wave of mental health issues. Whether it’s managing addiction, depression, social isolation or just the general stress that’s resulted from COVID-19, we’re all feeling it.
It seems to especially be hitting younger people.
Of those respondents, four of the most common issues were:
Many are also feeling overwhelmed by the constant, sometimes shifting and conflicting flow of information around the virus and the pandemic. Overall, 41% of those surveyed claimed that they were so overwhelmed by COVID-19 news and information that they weren’t paying attention.
While much of the world has come to a stop at times during the pandemic, the need for health care has not. Respondents said they skipped or delayed preventive health care visits because of the pandemic even though health care providers have gone to great lengths to ensure that keeping those appointments are safe for everyone.
Women are more likely to skip these appointments than men, and many people have avoided visits for more serious issues like injury or even chest pain.
In a time when we need to be able to focus on keeping ourselves as healthy as we can, we must not skip preventive visits to our healthcare providers. When we miss early signs of disease, we allow it to grow into a serious or even life-threatening illness.
Our clinics and hospitals are taking every precaution available to assure patients are safe from COVID-19 within our walls. We cannot let fear of one disease keep us from doing what we need to do to stay healthy.
This is especially true for children who need to continue their routine immunisations and we cannot lose sight of other diseases that children will be at high risk for contracting, like measles and pertussis (whooping cough), without those regular vaccinations.
But there is good news as far as respondents’ health is concerned. From lifestyle changes to better eating habits, people are using this time to get healthier in many areas.
Since the pandemic started, nearly two-thirds of survey’s participants (62%) say they’ve made a significant lifestyle change, including:
Eating and exercise are new areas of focus for many respondents. One-third of the participants say they’re eating more healthy food and most say they’ll keep the habit up.
Meanwhile over a quarter of people say they’ve increased their exercise frequency during the pandemic, perhaps a sign that more people are embracing the advantages of working out at home while gyms remain a risky venture.
There’s more to healthy living than just exercising and food, though. And the pandemic may have assisted them in paying more attention to certain risk factors for other health issues. That number is even higher for those younger respondents, 18-to-34 years old. Some of those risk factors include:
Additionally, the pandemic is motivating people to take better care of more serious issues with most respondents who already have a chronic condition saying they’ll now be even more likely to comply with treatment.
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen both benefits and drawbacks of being cooped up with family for long periods of time. And there’s certainly been added stress for families who have had to deal with remote learning situations for school-aged children.
Some, though, reported positive experiences with their families in such close quarters. Overall, those who responded said that they feel closer to their family and, in households with kids, reported feeling like they’ve forged new connections. Additionally, they agreed that quarantine made them value their relationships.
As for that stress with kids, of those surveyed who have kids in their households say their children have benefited from being able to spend more time with family.
As flu season looms and the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, it’s especially important that everyone get a flu shot this year. According to the survey, most respondents said they’re now more likely to get a flu shot. And among adults 18-to-34-years old are more likely to get vaccinated against the flu.
As for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, half of people are considering getting the vaccine. Of those who answered no or that they weren’t sure if they’d get the COVID-19 vaccine, the top reasons given were concerns about potential side effects and concerns about the efficacy of the vaccine.
In the short term, those who took the survey show a dedication to being safe and following guidelines for the foreseeable future. And that’s where their concerns remain, too.
Of those surveyed, 78% say they won’t spend the holidays as they normally do with only 9% planning to attend holiday church services and only 12% planning to attend holiday parades or New Year’s Eve firework celebrations.
Respondents are also putting common personal interactions on hold with 78% saying they won’t shake hands with people through the end of the year and only 13% saying they will hug a non-family member.
Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that a resurgence of COVID-19 is a big concern among those surveyed. Over half (59%) said they were concerned about another surge of cases while 44% said they’re worried about another round of quarantine.
It’s also not a surprise to see that two-thirds of respondents aged 55 years or older, the group with the highest risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19, are concerned about another surge of cases.
Despite these concerns and the difficulties faced throughout the pandemic, those who responded to the survey also showed that they’ve managed to find positives in their experiences.
Overall, 78% of those surveyed said that while quarantine and social distancing was difficult, it’s made them value their relationships. Meanwhile, 65% said the pandemic has made them reevaluate how they spend their time and 58% said it’s made them reevaluate their life goals.
And while 58% say that the pandemic has changed their way of life forever, nearly three-quarters (72%) said that they still have hope for the future.
Services provider Achieve Australia said the only way forward was for everyone to be vaccinated, but it continued to feel "forgotten" as its disabled clients and staff were still unable to get the jabs.
Chief executive Jo-Anne Hewitt said she was "alarmed" at recent comments from some politicians and the business community about the need to live with COVID-19 in the community.
"I do understand that opening up the economy is incredibly important but people with disability already face extreme barriers to inclusion and isolation," Ms Hewitt said.
"The idea of letting COVID rip in the community actually sentences people to a life of exclusion."
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