It’s great to see COVID-19 restrictions easing and our lives getting back to some sense of normality. The restrictions brought in to tackle the pandemic have been particularly challenging for older Queenslanders. We know it was hard for seniors not being able to spend time face-to-face with their family, friends and support networks.
Recently the Queensland Government’s Community Recovery Hotline has been calling seniors across the state to check on their wellbeing. The calls were to make sure they have enough food, medication and weren’t feeling too isolated. Overall more than 100,000 seniors have now received a call. The vast majority of seniors that spoke with us told us they were ok and receiving support from family, friends and neighbours. Around 2,800 of these seniors asked for help. These particular seniors were immediately referred to government agencies or non-government organisations to arrange food, medication or emotional support.
28,000 volunteers are a part of the Care Army. They have also stepped up to give older Queenslanders a helping hand when they’ve needed it the most. This includes around 1400 dedicated North Queensland volunteers – in a wonderful show of support for seniors across this region. Furthermore, Care Army volunteers have been assisting with a range of tasks. These include delivering food, stocking shelves and calling isolated Queenslanders who are in need of social connections.
Townsville-based Youth With a Mission (YWAM) has been working with Volunteering Queensland and community organisations to help find roles for local Care Army volunteers where needed. The Care Army really has done an outstanding job across the state. Most importantly, they have made the lives of many older Queenslanders much brighter during this challenging time.
The latest advice from Queensland’s Chief Health Officer is that older Queenslanders can now leave their homes to reconnect with family, friends and their communities. This advice coincides with more businesses opening and more people going back to work. The extra help Care Army volunteers have provided has been invaluable to community organisations and seniors alike. I’m so proud of what the Care Army has achieved and what we will continue to achieve.
Story written by Coralee O’Rourke – Member for Mundingburra, Minister for Communities and Minister for Disability Services & Seniors.