Latest News & Updates Archives - Centacare Brisbane

Latest News & Updates

Latest News & Updates

John Quinn, 70, from Wynnum lives with younger onset dementia. Like many people living with dementia, John has faced some significant challenges as a result of COVID-19. But his message during Dementia Awareness Week is clear – there is light at the end of the tunnel.

John and his partner Glenys Petrie work with Centacare as part of a local dementia alliance aimed at creating a more accessible and inclusive community for those living with dementia.

COVID-19 restrictions and the closure of services had somewhat of an impact on John’s quality of life.

“I’m quite a social person and I find it beneficial to get out in my community,” said John.

“Normally I’d go up to the shops and on the way back sometimes call into the local coffee shop. I also enjoy swimming so I missed being able to visit the local pool. Many of the social activities that I was accustomed to were taken away during COVID.”

Recognising the devastating effects of prolonged physical separation and isolation on people living with dementia, Centacare introduced a number of new ways to provide services and support. This included regular In Touch phone calls or video calls, which has been a great way to help clients feel safe and connected.

Centacare’s Memory Cafes will begin to reopen across South East Queensland in the coming months. John said the cafes were a wonderful opportunity for people living with dementia and their carers to connect with others in a welcoming and safe environment.

Some of John and Glenys’ work with Centacare involves engaging younger generations to help “change the narrative” around dementia. They recently shared their lived experience with Year 12 students at Iona College and have been invited to present to students studying a Masters of Gerontology at Queensland University of Technology.

“We believe younger people are the agents of change for the future,” said John.

“We’re educating them on what it’s like living with dementia and what it’s like caring for someone with dementia. This way we can start to change the stigma that goes along with the diagnosis.

“There’s too many doom and gloom stories around dementia. It’s possible to live well with dementia. You just need the right support to adapt to living with it.”

John’s love of physical activity extends into his advocacy work through his participation in the Moreton Bay Dementia Alliance’s ‘Walk With Me’ virtual walk – an online alternative to its traditional annual three-kilometre walk in the Moreton Bay region during Dementia Awareness Week.

“The idea of ‘Walk With Me’ is to get the message out to people living with dementia that they’re not alone,” said John.

“This sentiment is more important now than ever. For those people living in isolation during the pandemic, we are with you.”

To learn more about ‘Walk With Me’, visit the website.

To learn more about Centacare’s Memory Cafes and other services for people living with dementia, contact 1300 236 822.

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On 22 August, in response to a number of new positive COVID-19 test results, the Queensland Government put in place new restrictions in some local government areas in South East Queensland.

Centacare has implemented these new restrictions in our supported living environments. We are continuing to provide other services including in-home support and group activities for older people and people with a disability, with rigorous COVID Safe plans in place.

Disability accommodation

In line with the Queensland Government’s Disability Accommodation Services Direction, visitors to all Supported Independent Living (SIL) houses in Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Logan City, Scenic Rim Regional, Moreton Bay and Redland City Local Government Areas are restricted to essential visitors only. Essential visitors include Centacare support workers (who are continuing with their shifts as per normal) and other essential health care workers and service staff.

This change is effective 22 August and will be reviewed in line with advice from Queensland Health.

We know visits and regular contact are important to our clients and families and we will continue to support them to connect with each other via phone and video conferencing, wherever possible

In-home and group services

We are continuing to provide our in-home, community and centre-based support services for aged care and disability clients, in line with government directions. There have been some changes to group activities at our Aishling centre.

When providing services, our number one priority is protecting the health and safety of the clients we support as well as that of our team members. We continue to employ strict infection control, hygiene and social distancing protocols, which includes an enhanced level and frequency of cleaning when carrying out in-home services.

We continue to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where required, in line with advice from public health authorities.

On advice from Jeanette Young, Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, we are also encouraging all employees and clients to be extra vigilant in regard to social distancing in the community at this time. This will also be reflected in our planning for all our community-based group and one-on-one activities.

We will continue to monitor the evolving situation closely and provide regular updates about any actions we need to take to protect the safety and wellbeing our clients and employees.

You can access the latest information and advice about COVID-19 from the Queensland Government and Australian Government.

More information

Please contact us on 1300 236 822.

You can access the latest information and advice about COVID-19 from the Queensland Government .

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This Senior’s Week, we are encouraged to nurture our intergenerational connections as a show of solidarity in the face of a pandemic.

This week, as Centacare celebrates its 8,000 older clients and connects young and old through activities across its regions, aged care Support Worker, Tony, 53, says the connections he forms with our seniors is a gift.

Tony works at Centacare’s Aspley and Enoggera community centres and helps run ‘Talk N Tools’ and ‘Menshed’, two of the more popular activities on offer at the centres’.

“I have the best job in the world,” said Tony. “I work with older people, men and women, to restore furniture and other projects we think are worth doing. I have to pinch myself every morning, knowing I’m about to spend my day forming connections with the most remarkable people in our community.

“I recently had the unique opportunity to work side by side, for eight weeks with one of my clients, Colin. This was because group activities were temporarily suspended due to the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Colin is 83 and is living with advanced stages of dementia. We worked in the Enoggera shed to finish a bench seat that the Aspley group had started back in January. Colin and I worked three hours on a Monday and three hours on a Wednesday sanding back and varnishing the slats. We started in April and finished in May. I noticed Colin was quite restless in his home environment during the lockdown and so we came up a plan to rescue the seat, which we did.

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COVID-19 Update 9 – Changes to SIL visitor arrangements

There are currently 12 known cases of COVID-19 in Queensland.

To help protect the safety of our clients and staff, we have made the decision to restrict visitors to all Supported Independent Living (SIL) houses in Brisbane City, Ipswich City, Logan City, Redland City, Gold Coast City and Scenic Rim Regional Local Government Areas to essential visitors only. Essential visitors include Centacare support workers (who are continuing with their shifts as per normal) and other essential health care workers.

This change is effective 3 August and will be reviewed in line with advice from Queensland Health. This precautionary measure mirrors the closure of aged care homes to visitors outlined by Queensland Health.

We know visits are important to our clients and families however, given the current situation, we believe this precaution is in the best interest of our clients and employees. We can support our clients and families to connect with each other via phone and video conferencing.

We will continue to monitor the evolving situation closely and provide regular updates about any actions we need to take to protect the safety and wellbeing our clients and employees.

More information

Please contact us on 1300 236 822.

You can access the latest information and advice about COVID-19 from the Queensland Government and Australian Government.

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On 29 July, Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer, announced three positive test results and the potential spread of COVID-19 in the Logan, Acacia Ridge and Springfield Lakes areas.

To help protect the safety of our clients and employees, we have made the decision to restrict visitors to our Supported Independent Living (SIL) houses located south of the Brisbane River to essential visitors only. Essential visitors include Centacare support workers (who are continuing with their shifts as per normal) and other essential health care workers.

This change is effective immediately and will be reviewed in line with advice from Queensland Health. This precautionary measure mirrors the closure of aged care homes to visitors in the area south of the Brisbane River outlined by Queensland Health.

We know visits are important to our clients and families however, given the current situation, we believe this precaution is in the best interest of our clients and employees. We can support our clients and families to connect with each other via phone and video conferencing.

We will continue to monitor the evolving situation closely and provide regular updates about any actions we need to take to protect the safety and wellbeing our clients and employees.

You can access the latest information and advice about COVID-19 from the Queensland Government and Australian Government.

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Darryl, 68, lives on a property at Amamoor. He loves his farm, his truck and travelling around Australia with his mates. Darryl has some health issues but is determined not to let that stop him living life the way he chooses.

With a Home Care Package and support from Centacare, Darryl is able to continue living on his farm and doing the things he loves.

Centacare supports Darryl with allied health services, delivered meals, cleaning and hospital appointments. When Darryl needed two knee replacements, Centacare organised special knee braces for him.

For many years, Centacare helped Darryl look after his best friend – his 65kg bull mastiff, Harrold. Harrold recently passed away at the age of 14, well beyond his breed’s average life span of eight years.

Knowing how important a best friend is in life, Centacare helped Darryl look after Harrold, including taking him to his vet appointments in Gympie. Funding through a Home Care Package means Centacare can also provide dog walking services, feeding and trips to the groomers.

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Continued reintroduction of group services

Throughout COVID-19 we have adopted a conservative approach to service delivery and have been vigilant in regard to our health, safety and hygiene protocols. In line with the easing of government restrictions, we continue to gradually reintroduce our services in a way that is safe for our clients and staff. The current status of our services is outlined below.

Community centres

On 13 July an additional nine community centres were opened. This means all Centacare community centres (with the exception of Annerley) are now open. Client numbers at each centre have now increased to a maximum of 20 people, provided that the 1.5 metre and 4 square metre rules can be met. Clients are now able to move across groups and days of the week. Screening questions and temperature checks for clients remain in place at this time.

Community centres are now able to welcome back external service providers, including therapists and entertainers, provided that they present a copy of their COVID Safe Plan. All visitors to centres, including external service providers must complete a visitor declaration and have their temperature taken on arrival at the centre.

There have been some changes to the way centre activities are delivered as we seek to ensure these services are provided in a way that is safe for all. These changes will remain in place at this time. 

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When Centacare Support Worker, Kerri, started phoning her clients as part of the organisation’s new ‘in touch’ check-in service, she didn’t expect to have so many conversations about socks.

“Keeping warm has been the single biggest concern for our older clients,” said Kerri. “They are really feeling the cold and the struggle to get warm has been a common complaint.”

When Kerri heard that Jill, 84, from Windsor, was wearing three pairs of socks to bed, Kerri generously gifted her a pair of thermal socks. The socks have made all the difference for Jill, who was freezing through the night. “I actually feel warm now,” said Jill. “I’m just so relieved and so grateful”.

Jill’s plight to get warm inspired Kerri to create the Winter Woolly Drive. Centacare is now calling for the community to donate or knit socks, beanies, scarves and gloves to help people who are suffering in the cold. Centacare clients and staff have jumped on board and are donating or knitting items for Winter Woolly Packs. 

“We don’t tend to think about people being cold inside their homes, but the problem is very real,” said Kerri. “Many of our clients, like Jill for instance, live in old Queenslanders, which are known for being cold. The wind whistles around the verandah and they are notoriously difficult to heat. While heating might be installed, it can be can be costly to run so many are reluctant to use it.”

A 2015 study in The Lancet found cold weather killed 2600 Australians every year. The health impact of cold homes include damage to respiratory and cardiovascular systems as well as indirect effects on mental health and nutrition.

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Heeding the advice of public health authorities, Jade, 25, from Broadbeach, withdrew from group and community activities in March and went into lockdown.

This week, she joined 60 other participants for a long-awaited return to group activities!

Centacare threw open the doors at six community centres across South East Queensland on Monday – the first step in the organisation’s gradual return to group activities. A further 12 centres will reopen on Monday 29 June, along with community-based activities for small groups of people.

An active participant in Centacare activities on the Gold Coast, before COVID-19 Jade was used to being on-the-go. She adapted as best she could to the change in routine, enjoying quality one-on-one time with her Centacare support worker and weekly performing arts workshops, which Centacare delivered online.

How does Jade feel to be back at the Broadbeach community centre? Service Delivery Manager Jillian Luman says her smile said it all. “Jade’s two great loves are music and people,” said Jillian. “This week she has been surrounded with both – joining the group guitar playing and singing sessions with gusto. She’s filled with joy.”

“Bingo!” is something that hasn’t been heard in a while. And the clients at Aspley community centre were only too happy to let their cries ring out.

“I’m glad to be back,” said Greg, 69, from Burpengary. “We’ve had a fantastic day. We’ve enjoyed golf, quizzes and of course, a great lunch. It’s amazing what you can do as a group while keeping 1.5 metres apart!”

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Government restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 have created big challenges for our community as we adapt to changes in the way we live, work, communicate and engage with the world.

Seeing first-hand the impacts on people’s daily lives, Centacare is calling on the South Burnett community to help combat social isolation and share a message of positivity and hope by making origami butterflies.

The campaign has generated a great response from the community since launching in early June.

The campaign is the brainchild of Support Worker Shelley Hayden, who works with the Centacare Neighbourhood Centre in Kingaroy.

“We’re all about forging connections in our community,” said Ms Hayden. “The groups and events we usually hold have temporarily ceased due to COVID-19, so we wanted to unite people in different ways.

“The campaign has resonated with a wide cross-section of the community, which has surprised us. People of all ages and from all walks of life have jumped on board. It’s been interesting to see how everyone gets something different from the project.”

One of the participants, Jan, has busied herself making butterflies because she enjoys embracing new opportunities and challenging herself to learn new skills.

Another participant, Laurelle, said she enjoys the sense of belonging the project gives her and feeling like she is part of something bigger. “Even though we are separated by distance, we are working together to create something beautiful,” said Laurelle.

And what will happen to all the beautiful butterflies?

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