Iso, WFH, the ‘Rona’, Social Distancing… months ago these would have sounded foreign to most. Now, they’re part of our day-to-day language.
And as we all come to terms with the new ‘normal’; everyone’s experiences are so very different. For many people with disabilities and their loved ones, the fear surrounding COVID-19 has been amplified. Whether it’s health risks, limited access to support or social restrictions, no one is concern-free.
Here, VMCH Communications Officer (Community and Disability Services) Phin Meere shares his experience living through the pandemic.
“As a person with a disability, I am constantly thinking about what adjustments to my lifestyle I need to make to stay healthy and free of Coronavirus. I feel lucky that I don’t have a disability that puts me at greater risk of contracting the illness than anyone else. However, there are measures many people take that I struggle to do.
I live alone but need support workers to help me with domestic duties, shopping, meal preparation and cooking. I am reliant on them to be healthy, keep good hygiene and be virus-free. This (their visits) puts me at greater risk but I need them so I can live independently.
We are supposed to wipe down surfaces around the home as these can inadvertently spread the virus. I struggle to do this physically and also due to poor eyesight.
I am also worried about what will happen to me if I need to self-isolate and forego my support. As a precaution I have arranged for priority access to food delivery and registered for a government-funded care package.
I also have other non-disability related adjustments to my life to consider. Living alone, I’m at greater risk of social isolation, so I am contacting people virtually and restricting visiting my parents who are in their 70s. I keep a daily routine of exercise, grabbing a takeaway coffee and giving friendly greetings to the few people I encounter on the streets.
Despite these challenges, I am hopeful that I will remain healthy and not contract Coronavirus.”
For more information (including Easy Read and Auslan) about COVID-19 and what you can do to look after yourself, click here.