We all want to stop the spread of coronavirus. Older Australians are particularly vulnerable to the virus, so we need to work together to keep it out of our communities – and keep our residents safe. We’ve put together 19 tips to help you look after your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Your physical health
If you’re over 70, have a chronic health condition, or are isolating at home, your prescription medication can be delivered free of charge once a month via the Home Medicines Service. For more details speak to your pharmacist.
2. Flu shot
While it won’t help combat COVID-19, you should be immunised against seasonal flu. It is particularly important to reduce your risk of contracting other illnesses while COVID-19 remains in the community. The flu shot is free for over-65s and available at your local GP from April.
One of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus is to maintain excellent hygiene:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
- Cough into a tissue or your elbow crease.
- Keep your home clean, especially touch points like door handles, remote controls and light switches.
4. Essential trips & visits only
All but essential trips and visits are discouraged. Essential includes trips and visits for:
- Home/ personal care
- Food, medication or essential supplies
- Compassionate reasons
This isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most effective ways of keeping the virus out.
Both Coles and Woolworths are providing a priority service that ensures older Australians are still able to order groceries online.
- Woolworths is offering a Priority Assistance service with dedicated delivery windows. You’ll need to complete an online form, which will be assessed by their team within 48 hours.
- Coles is still ironing out details of their Coles Online Priority Service (COPS) but you can check progress at coles.com.au
Remember, you can always ask a tech-savvy friend or family member to help set this up for you.
Your emotional and mental health
The government has recommended social distancing and self-isolation, which are great measures to protect you physically. But this can take a toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Here are some ideas to help:
6. Stay connected
Keep in touch with family and friends via phone, email and Facebook. There’s nothing like seeing your loved one’s smiling faces while you chat, so this is a great time to experiment with FaceTime or Skype, if you haven’t already.
7. Have a routine
You may not be able to stick to your pre-coronavirus routine, but try to have a rough schedule each day and keep up with normal activities. Maintain healthy habits, like drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet.
Aim to incorporate some light exercise into each day, whether that’s walking through the village (keeping 1.5 metres distance between you and other residents) or some light stretching at home.
9. Get creative
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never had time for? Or a hobby you’ve put on the backburner? Whether it’s returning to a once-loved instrument or picking up a paintbrush for the first time, this is a great time to re-ignite old passions or start new ones. There’s a wealth of tutorials and ideas online.
10. Go outside
Breathing in fresh air and hearing the birds sing can help lift your spirits. If you’re in self-isolation and have a private court yard or garden, its OK to go outside for short periods of time on your own.
11. Find a pen pal
Right now, you might feel disconnected from the broader community. Why not use this time to write letters, either to younger family members, former neighbours, or even someone across the village you don’t know well? The thrill of receiving a letter in the mailbox could help ward off feelings of loneliness.
12. Share your knowledge
When you’re confined to a small space, it helps to have a hobby or creative outlet. Is there something you excel at that you could teach others? It might be knitting, cooking or woodwork. Think about sharing your expertise with your neighbours, friends and family by creating how-to videos on your phone.
13. Book or movie club
If you love chatting about books or movies, why not set up a book or movie club? You could use the phone, WhatsApp or video calls for this.
14. Switch off
The quickly changing situation and relentless news coverage can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s best to give yourself space and take a break from the news.
15. Read to your grandkids
If you’re missing the small people in your life, why not take a video of you reading their favourite story? They’re sure to love listening to it just as much as you enjoy creating it.
16. Ask for help
This is a challenging and uncertain time for all of us. But if you are feeling anxious or depressed, it’s wise to seek professional help. Beyond Blue offers short-term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 22 4636.
17. Helpful resources
Help manage any symptoms of depression or anxiety using the MindSpot Wellbeing Plus Course – free for over 60s.
18. Daily wellness check-ins
The current situation can feel isolating and overwhelming, but we’re in this together. In our communities, we’re offering independent living residents a daily wellness check-in phone call to see how they’re travelling. If you’re not in a community, why not ask a friend or family member to call every day to check in? It’s vital we look out for each other during such an unsettling and challenging time, and make the most of our networks – even if social connection currently looks a little different from what we’re used to.
19. Get medical advice early
Get medical advice if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath or sore throat. Call:
- Your GP
- Coronavirus Health Information Line 1800 020 080
- State Department of Health:
New South Wales 1300 066 055
Queensland 13 432 584
South Australia 1300 232 272
- If it is an emergency 000