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Stop and Think

Stop and Think

Instructors in basic survival techniques often use the acronym “STOP” which stands for: Stop, Think, Observe, Plan.

It’s an acronym which I believe everyone should consider adopting to help get through the difficult months ahead.

We are suddenly faced with a worldwide situation in which we have no experience. Our normal instincts or reactions are no longer appropriate in either the community or business environment. Impulsively, most of us have a bias to action and to be “doing things” continuously.

Usually, we are all under an enormous amount of pressure to do things quickly. It’s exhausting! Yet, we don’t stop. We keep going faster and faster, managing more and more information.

The first thing people do when faced with a moment of downtime is to reach for their smartphones. With distractions always at our fingertips or around us, people need to take some time out for themselves to stop and think and avoid making decisions too quickly, especially during this crisis.

Don’t Rush Decisions

In recent weeks, there have been unintended mistakes made by government, business and the community because of hasty decisions being taken without consultation, enough thought or consideration. The intentions have been well meant, but the outcomes have sometimes resulted in the opposite occurring.

The decision by the major supermarket chains to open an extra hour from 7:00am–8:00am exclusively for vulnerable people to combat a wave of panic buying was welcomed by the general community. It was a great idea, but the decision was obviously made without consultation with those it sought to help. It is often impossible for people suffering some types of impairments to be shopping as early as 7.00am as it can take them three hours or more to prepare and ready themselves for their day.

Thankfully, retailers have since adjusted their operations and now provide non-contact deliveries to the elderly, disabled and those who need to self-isolate.

“Out of Adversity Comes Opportunity” - Benjamin Franklin

Many people in business and the community are rallying to better adapt so they can assist and support the wider population.

Hand sanitisers, face masks, protective clothing and equipment are being manufactured by Australian companies never before associated with such products.

For those with impairments there has also been some benefits arising from this crisis.

Australia Post recently introduced a new and crucial service to provide pharmacy deliveries to at-risk customers, safely. The Pharmacy Home Delivery service allows vulnerable members of the community to get free delivery of medication and other essential supplies.

Up until now, advocacy for such a service had been met with strong opposition from authorities for years. Ironically too, people with impairments are possibly better prepared and accepting of community segregation.

Many vulnerable Australians already live a version of self-isolation because there are not the infrastructure, services and procedures to allow us to fully immerse ourselves in society. Mentally I am finding it easier than my family to make the transition to self-isolation and I am sure others with impairments are having similar experiences.

However other challenges currently facing the disabled are disturbing, because they have an elevated risk of morbidity and death due to underlying health conditions. Social distancing is not an option as many rely on carers and support workers for daily living including washing, dressing and other usual care routines.

We can only hope that governments, businesses and members of the community stop and think how they can ensure the impaired are able to safely access services and support throughout this pandemic.

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