Hi there! I’m Lisa, the newest member of the VIVA Home Nurse Team, and I’ve been supporting people with various health and well-being challenges for several years. As we step into the warmer months, I want to share some essential self-care tips that are particularly relevant for South Australians with disabilities, as well as for our NDIS Support Coordinators. Summer in SA can be a mix of fun and challenges, especially when it comes to health and well-being. So, let’s dive into how we can all take better care of ourselves during this season.
- Stay Hydrated
This is my top advice every summer. Our summer heat can be intense, and it’s vital to stay hydrated. Dehydration can affect anyone, but those with disabilities might have an increased risk due to various factors like medication side effects or physical limitations. Keep a bottle of water with you and sip regularly. If you’re supporting someone, remind them and assist in regular fluid intake. And hey, it doesn’t always have to be plain water – fresh juices or fruit-infused water are great alternatives!
- Sun Protection is Key
I love our bright, sunny days but, the Australian sun can be harsh. Always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (as frequently as the manufacturer recommends), wear a hat, and seek shade whenever possible. For individuals with mobility challenges, ensure that your outdoor areas are adequately shaded. As a home nurse, I always carry extra sunscreen in my bag – you never know when you might need it!
- Managing Heat Stress
Heat stress is a real concern during our summer. It’s essential to recognize the signs like excessive sweating, dizziness, or fatigue. If you or someone you support is experiencing these symptoms, move to a cooler place, hydrate, and rest. For those with health conditions that may exacerbate in heat, it’s crucial to monitor their symptoms and take preventive actions like calling their GP.
- Dietary Considerations
Summer is a great time to enjoy fresh fruits and salads, which are not just refreshing but also packed with nutrients (and often, sugars). For people with specific dietary needs or swallowing difficulties, it’s important to adapt meals accordingly – think smoothies, chilled soups, and puréed fruit or reduced sugar recipes.
- Enjoying our beautiful outdoors
Our state is bustling with activities during summer, and it’s a great opportunity to be part of community events. However, always plan ahead. For people with mobility aids or wheelchairs, always ensure that the venues are accessible and that you have a plan for rest breaks and shelter.
- Regular Health Checks
Summer can alter how our bodies react, and sometimes it affects how medications work. Regular health checks are crucial. As someone in the healthcare field, I always remind my clients about their appointments and medication reviews, especially during season changes.
- Mental Wellbeing
It’s not just our physical health that needs attention over this time; mental wellbeing is equally important. The festive/holiday season can be overwhelming for some. Take time for activities that you enjoy (and avoid the ones you don’t!), and don’t hesitate to seek support if needed. As a VIVA Home Nurse, I’m always ready to lend an ear and guide my clients towards professional help if necessary.
- Sleep Well
Good sleep can be a bit tricky during hot nights. Try to keep your bedroom cool and comfortable. For those who need assistance, like adjusting fans & air conditioning or changing beddings to lighter materials, make sure this is part of your support routine.
- Staying Connected
Isolation can be a challenge for some individuals with disabilities. Stay connected with friends, family, or community groups. Speak to your clients or your support coordinators to facilitate these connections, enhancing your overall well-being, or that of those you support.
- Emergency Preparedness
Lastly, always be prepared for emergencies. Know who to call and have a plan, especially during days of extreme heat or bushfire risks. For NDIS participants and your support team, ensuring that emergency plans are in place and understood is part of our responsibility.
Caring for yourself or others during Adelaide’s summer requires a bit of planning and lots of care. But with the right strategies, it can be an enjoyable and safe time for everyone. Remember, self-care is not selfish; it’s essential. Whether you’re someone with a disability or a support coordinator, taking these steps ensures a healthier and happier summer. Stay cool, stay safe, and let’s make the most of this beautiful season in our wonderful Adelaide!
If you’d like to learn more, VIVA Mutual’s Support Centre team is always available to share our expertise and experience for the benefit of Support Coordinators, NDIS participants and those who support them. Many of us live with disabilities ourselves and/or have family members with NDIS Plans too, so we know what we’re talking about.