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Research examines the ‘New Normal’ brought by COVID-19


By Julia Contrucci

Roughly 16% of the Australian population is in the epidemiologically most at-risk 65+ age group for the COVID-19 virus. Nonetheless, the pandemic, described by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as a series of unprecedented events, has impacted the lives of many more in Australia.

In May, a survey by Relationships Australia found that over 55% of people had been challenged by their living arrangements during the periods of lockdown and many had spent more time and effort maintaining their relationships. One example was the Brisbane couple who took advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown to reconnect and communicate about their future.

The survey also pointed out that loneliness was a significant issue for some 45% of people in the survey. As was the case of Erika Freingruber. The 80-year-old, who lived by herself, was rescued by the Care Army after a home accident in June.

Six months later, Relationships Australia now aims to understand how people are navigating these uncertain times and are adjusting to the ‘new normal’. The community-based organisation is joining the international research study Families Un-locked: Relationships Emerging from COVID-19 into the ‘New Normal’ led by the University of Worcester UK in collaboration with School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University and Relate UK.

“This exciting collaboration is an independent long-term study about how individuals and families are coping and adapting to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Relationships Australia is proud to contribute to this important international exploration of relationships at such a crucial time in our shared history”, said Nick Tebbey, National Executive Officer of Relationships Australia.

The organisation encourages everyone in Australia who is 18 and over to take part in the study, by completing a 20-minute online survey:

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