We want you for the Care Army
AN ARMY of volunteers and professionals will be deployed to protect the state's senior citizens from the coronavirus pandemic, with new recruits urged to join up now.
Dubbed the Care Army, the major community endeavour will be launched by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today to guard the health of one million seniors who have been asked to stay home to stay safe.
"Queensland's community spirit always shines through in times of crisis, as it did when the Mud Army went into action after the 2011 floods," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"The Care Army may operate differently because of health and safety restrictions, but the spirit and effect remain the same.
"Many seniors will of course be supported by family, but others will need volunteers and community service organisations to help them stay home and stay safe and with things such as food or medicine drops.
"Even something as simple as a daily telephone call can make a huge difference."
Those willing to pitch in have been asked to register by calling the government's Community Recovery Hotline - on 1800 173 349 - which links seniors and other vulnerable people to essential services and support.
And those eager to volunteer are being reminded that one of the best ways to get started is by reaching out to the family, friends and community around them.
Older people, particularly those with a pre-existing medical condition like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or weakened immunity, are most at risk of serious infection and have been asked to stay at home by authorities to limit their exposure.
Senior Palaszczuk Government Minister Kate Jones will lead the new COVID-19 Seniors Panel that will co-ordinate the Care Army and manage a community awareness campaign.
"When the Premier asked me to do this job I jumped at the chance because it's so critical," Ms Jones said.
She said support would be given to Queenslanders over 65 with underlying health issues, all Queenslanders aged over 70, and indigenous Queenslanders aged over 50 with chronic disease.
"The best place for seniors to be right now is in their own home," Ms Jones said.
"Seniors should not be out and about doing errands that someone else can do for them.
"It is now up to every single Queenslander to show we care.
"Whether it's your mother, your grandfather, your next-door neighbour or a friend - we all know a senior in our community who will need us so they can stay safe from infection."
She said officials would give clear advice to people about how they could safety support older family and friends while still limiting the older person's exposure to them through the program.
"We are urging Queenslanders to immediately work out a plan with their families and loved ones to ensure seniors have access to essentials without leaving their homes," she said.
"Being isolated from loved ones can be stressful for all of us.
"Switching to a chat over the phone, video call or email rather than visits face-to-face are recommended to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
"Grandchildren should not be visiting grandparents who are in the at-risk aged group.
"Instead of driving your grandparent to the shops, get their list and do the grocery shop for them."
TO JOIN THE CARE ARMY CALL 1800 173 349
Originally published as We want you for the Care Army