Uncertainty is everywhere right now, but for disabled Australians this pandemic is personal.
Facing lost income, lost support and a heightened risk of infection, we’re watching as the world is making decisions that affect us without sufficient consultation or consideration. To add to the sting, we’re seeing ableism come out in full force.
The coronavirus situation is unsettling, to say the least. As a disabled woman, I’m reading news updates scrolling through Twitter and disabled-only Facebook groups wondering which of my friends are at risk, reading messages of concern and frantic calls for help. What do we do if our support workers fall ill? How do we access our vital supports? How can we get food, toilet paper, sanitiser, and prescription medications if we’re forced to isolate or there’s nothing left?
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Recent support initiatives aren’t enough. As supermarkets announced the 7am shopping hour for elderly and disabled folk, I instantly felt dejected. I can’t get up that early and move safely, let alone navigate the crowd and carry supplies to the car. I’m lucky to have a family providing the essentials, but what if I didn’t? I also don’t receive the Disability Support Pension so I can’t ‘prove’ my disability. I’m thankful that Senator Jordon Steele-John’s advocacy has resulted in Woolworths’ online application system for those who require online shopping. Coles has made a similar announcement. Though the process of ‘proving’ we’re disabled is often demoralising, the reality is that one hour a day isn’t sufficient and online delivery services are vital to survival.
That’s what this is about. Survival.
PLEASE think twice before stockpiling food. There are people with allergies and medical conditions who literally cannot eat if you clear stores of – in some cases – the one thing they can.
— Rachel Edmonds (@CaneInPink) March 4, 2020