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Support for older Australians during COVID-19

8 April 2020 Wesley Mission news

seniors and aged care 810x540 9No matter life’s challenges, we’re here to help our people thrive. Amidst this season of uncertainty during the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), our commitment to protect, serve and safeguard our people remains strong.

According to the Australian Department of Health, Australians over the age of 60 are more at risk of contracting COVID-19. For many people, a Wesley Mission service is their home – whether it be residential aged care, retirement living or home care support. We’re continuing to maintain our high standards to ensure the safety of older persons in our care.

No doubt you’re connected with many older people – they may be your parents, grandparents or older friends. So how can you help them remain safe during the uncertainty of COVID-19? The following information can support you along this journey of caring for older people in your lives.

Should I visit older family and friends?

During these unprecedented times, many of us will want to remain close to loved ones. But to protect older Australians, we need to work together to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Australian Government is advising everyone to practise ‘social distancing’. What does this mean for you? Have less contact between yourself and other people by staying at home unless absolutely necessary, distancing of at least 1.5 metres in public and limit gatherings to two people in public to help slow the spread of the disease.

While challenging, if you have family members or friends over the age of 60, it’s important to limit your contact with them where possible. If it’s not essential, it’s best not to visit them.

If you normally run errands for your older loved ones, you can still support them – just be creative. If they need groceries, medicine or other supplies, complete their shopping and then leave it at their door. Or organise delivery for them. Supermarkets are prioritising vulnerable people in the community by offering them access to delivery services. Visit Woolworths Priority Assistance online to register.

How can I support my loved ones over the age of 60?

Here at Wesley Mission, we believe good mental health builds resilience for life’s challenges. But during times of uncertainty, it’s easy to feel anxious and lonely.

As increasing social distancing and self-isolation measures are implemented from the Australian Government, more people will feel socially isolated – particularly older Australians. So it’s important you regularly check-in with your loved ones who remain at home and also continue to reach out to your older family and friends.

There are many ways you can still connect with your loved ones when you’re unable to physically see them. Connect with them over the phone, send a text message or try video calling. You could even write a letter, send a postcard or share recent photos and short videos with them.

Should I visit aged care and residential facilities?

All Wesley Mission aged care and residential centres are currently closed to visitors. For more information, please visit our service updates page.

Many other aged care and residential facilities have implemented their own procedures to keep you and your loved ones safe, so it’s best to check with them directly. Generally, if you don’t have to absolutely visit, it’s best to keep in touch in other ways.

If you’ve travelled overseas or had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, it’s important you self-isolate. Don’t visit any aged care and residential facilities for 14 days from the time you’ve returned from overseas or the last time you’ve had contact with a case.

For further information on restrictions and procedures for visiting aged care and residential facilities, go to health.gov.au.

Information for this article has been sourced from NSW Health, Australian Department of Health and healthdirect.