Ever heard of the phrase "social care" before? If you answered no, you're not alone.

While most people know about medical and personal care, like giving people medication or helping them shower, social care is a relatively unknown, but very important, type of support. It enables people to build meaningful relationships, gain independence, and simply enjoy life to the fullest.

But what does social care involve? Who can benefit from it? And how can someone access it? Find the answers to all your questions below...

What do we mean by social care?

There are several different definitions of social care (or social support) out there. They tend to use terms like "non-medical", "community" and "companionship".

To us, social care is all about connection. It's about helping people connect with others in their community so they can feel confident, happy and independent.

Social care looks different for different people. Some people may want help developing social skills, while others just need a hand getting from A to B. The key thing is that it helps them achieve their goals, whatever they may be.

People who lack access to social care may experience loneliness or social isolation. Loneliness currently affects over 1 in 4 Australians and has been linked to several physical and mental health issues, like poor sleep, mental illness, development of dementia, and premature death. So safe to say, it's a pretty big issue.

Having social support services in place (like Like Family) can help alleviate the effects of loneliness by connecting people in need with people who care.

What are some examples of social care?

Two people with their arms around each other at a restaurant

Social and community care cover a variety of activities, depending on the provider you work with. Here are some examples:

  • A companion for social events. Attending events and making friends is easier said than done for some people. A support worker can accompany you to places like the movies, bowling alley or a sporting event. You can even go on a group booking with a friend!
  • Health and wellbeing. Whether you're a tennis fan or just want to go for a walk outside, a support worker can help you reach your health and wellbeing goals at your own pace.
  • Meal preparation and cooking. Head to the supermarket with your support worker to pick up some groceries, then head home to prepare your favourite meal or try a new recipe.
  • Household tasks. Get a hand with household chores like vacuuming, gardening and hanging up the laundry. Maybe you can enjoy a chat and a tea together afterwards?
  • Recreational games. Need a player 2 to your player 1? Challenge your support worker to a board game or video game.
  • Arts & craft. Whether you're into pottery, painting or knitting, you can share your hobbies with a likeminded support worker.
  • Skills training. Social care is also about learning new skills. Some support workers can help you learn a new musical instrument, how to use a computer, or even give you a hand with your homework.
  • Transportation. If you need help getting to an appointment or an event, a support worker can drive or accompany you by public transport to ensure you get to your destination safely.

Social care doesn't cover activities that involve medical or personal care, including showering, toileting, or dressing.

Who can benefit from social care?

The short answer? Anyone! Everyone deserves to be and feel socially included, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual or gender orientation, and location.

However, some people may need more help than others to make connections and build independence. For example, someone with arthritis may need assistance doing daily tasks that they used to be able to perform themselves. Additionally, primary carers may seek out social care as a form of respite.

If you're an NDIS participant or have a home care package, you may be able to use your funding to access social and community support. Talk to your case manager or support coordinator if you're unsure!

Who can provide social care?

Social support workers (or as we call them, Social Carers) are hired to provide social care to people of all ages and abilities. While they may not come from a nursing, disability or aged care background, they do have strong people skills and a passion for helping others. Depending on the provider, they'll undergo certain checks (like an NDIS Worker Check or police check) and training to ensure they are reliable and trustworthy.

You have complete choice and control over who you work with. You may choose a social support worker who is similar in age to you, someone with similar interests and hobbies, or someone who has experience working with certain conditions.

Find quality social care in your local area with Like Family

A Like Family Social Carer with a Member

Like Family is an NDIS registered provider specialising in social and community care. We're on a mission to reduce social isolation and loneliness by connecting locals who care with people in need.

We offer individual and group support to Australians of all ages and abilities. Our hourly rates are 20% lower than the NDIS price guide for social supports and well below aged care pricing, so you can achieve more of your goals no matter what funding you have.

If you're looking for social care for yourself or a loved one, or would like to provide support, you can join our community for free!