Care Coronavirus COVID-19 Disability Hyogo Japan

Changes in lifestyles during COVID-19 crisis causes anxiety for Hyogo disabled people

The spread of the new coronavirus affects people with disabilities who are more likely to feel anxiety about unexpected daily changes. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has called for the continued operation of facilities for the disabled as "necessary to maintain their lives," but the facility has great conflicts regarding the prevention of infection. 99 out of the 2,600 outpatient facilities in Hyogo prefecture are closed, and users are facing a disruption in their rhythm of life and a large decrease in their income.

Written with extracts translated from The Kobe Shimbun

May 15 2020

SANDA, Hyogo Pref – The spread of the new coronavirus affects people with disabilities who are more likely to feel anxiety about unexpected daily changes. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has called for the continued operation of facilities for the disabled as “necessary to maintain their lives,” but the facility has great conflicts regarding the prevention of infection. 99 out of the 2,600 outpatient facilities in Hyogo prefecture are closed, and users are facing a disruption in their rhythm of life and a large decrease in their income. The Kobe Shimbun covered the distress experienced the staff and family members who supported them.

“I’m glad.You finally came. What’s wrong?” On the afternoon of April 22, a relieved air flowed to the employment support office “Talk Yu Yu” (Sanda Town). The user (71) who was supposed to come in the morning did not appear, and the staff were worried.

Many people with “aphasia” go to this facility because of the aftereffects of stroke and injury, which makes it difficult to read, listen, write, and speak. We continue working training by manufacturing and selling bread, manufacturing parts under contract from the factory, and making paintings for sale.

However, train commuting is frequent and heavy contact with work is unavoidable. As a general rule, the facility side switched to “at home work”, where they work on their works at home from April 14 as a measure against the new corona.

Still, waiting at home is not easy. A man had a cerebrovascular disorder that impaired memory and judgment, and he attended every day on weekdays. So I promised to come out once a week on the day I decided, but I couldn’t get out.

“I don’t know the exact reason, but I think I was worried about staying alone. I was crying when I came,” said Kayoko Tanaka (70). A helper will come 3 times a week to live alone, but she will have to stay home and eat more meals. While shopping, we advised on budget settings and well-balanced combinations, and discussed how to get the feeling.

The staff members take turns working and calling the user’s house to check their physical condition and how they are at home. In some cases, the family is confused because they cannot convey their intentions as they wish. For example, for a symptom in which a number cannot be stated, read the number as 1, 2, … and ask the person to respond to the desired number.

“I’m worried that the user’s life cycle will be disrupted. I wonder if I could not do what I was able to do.”

The facility’s coffee shop has been  closed from April 20, and shops and events that sell bread are also closed. Overall sales have dropped to 60% of the usual level. Since the users are on an hourly wage system, they are forced to reduce wages due to shortened working hours and work at home. “I’m paying for what I work for motivation. Still, I’m honestly tough to pay due to a decline in income,” he confesses.

According to a survey conducted by a national organization of persons with disabilities, “Kyoren” in March, 53% of the 281 business establishments nationwide said that their wages had decreased by more than 20%.

Even if the operation is continued without a break, the number of jobs that users can work on is decreasing. Some offices continue to shrink in size, but there are also cases where they had no choice but to close it because of a criticism from their neighbors that they were opening it.

Talk Yu Yu will restart work at the facility from 18th in a short time. Mrs. Tanaka says, “The burden on users and their families is heavy, but what kind of support and support can be given to various disabilities. I would like people around me to think about it now.”

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