This week is NAIDOC Week, a time for us to celebrate the achievements, culture and rich history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year's theme 'Always was, always will be' recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
We spoke to one of our Home Care Package aboriginal client's, about what NAIDOC Week means to her, her response was simple, 'it means everything' she said. 'It's the time of year when we all get together, over 100 of us, to enjoy a nice lunch and catch up with each other. It's the only time of the year we do this.'
This year we have collaborated with a local kindergarten, East Beaumaris Kindergarten, where the children from the 3 year old and 4 year old kinder groups are producing artworks and paintings inspired by aboriginal stories, symbols and history. These artworks will be mailed out to our vulnerable home care clients who are living in their own homes and experiencing isolation or loneliness.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has left even more older people isolated and lonely in their own homes, due to government restrictions and people opting to remain at home and avoid going out into the community to reduce the risk of potentially being exposed to the virus.
We also spoke to an aboriginal elder about how the COVID-19 restrictions had impacted her and her community, and here's what she said.
'I hated being in lockdown as I missed the regular gatherings we have as a community. It is so nice to meet up with other Indigenous Elders for a coffee and look forward to when we can meet as a group again at out “Gathering Places” to share a meal. I have appreciated the phone calls and support from my AccessCare Aged Care Adviser when I couldn’t leave home and the support staff who always help me.'