How we’re helping residents through the COVID-19 crisis

Boambee Gardens residents

Social distancing in action at Boambee Gardens Retirement Village.

2020 has brought unprecedented challenges. Coronavirus has swept across the globe, sparking fear, uncertainty, and isolation for many. We haven’t seen a pandemic like this in our lifetimes, and we don’t know what the ultimate impact will be in Australia.

If you or a loved one lives in a retirement village, it can be comforting to know what we’re doing – and will continue to do – to support you during this health crisis.

Emergency response team. We have a dedicated emergency team that is focused on preventing COVID-19 from entering our communities, and preparing for the possibility that it might.

The health and wellbeing of our residents and staff is our top priority. We recognise that many of our residents will be vulnerable to the coronavirus and we’ve implemented a range of measures to help protect them.

For instance, we’ve added visitor checkpoints at each village, staffed by well-known members of the team. By establishing these stringent measures and ensuring all visitors are properly screened, we’re helping minimise exposure to the virus and providing extra protection for residents.

We also regularly communicate with our communities to raise awareness and understanding of COVID-19, and give advice about what residents can do to keep themselves safe.

We follow the news so you don’t have to. The situation is evolving quickly and it can be hard to stay on top of all the changes and localised advice. Our emergency response team closely monitors the situation and responds to directives and advice from both State and Federal Governments.

We stay abreast of changes and keep our residents informed. This means our residents can switch off and take a break from the relentless news coverage as needed.

Dedicated COVID-19 hotline. We understand this is a challenging time. Residents and their families might need extra support, advice, and reassurance around what we’re doing to protect our communities. That’s why we’ve set up a dedicated COVID-19 hotline, available on 1800 325 046.

Residents and their loved ones can call and ask questions around our response to the pandemic, what we’re doing to keep them safe, and hear the latest government advice.

Increased infection control. This is a new virus that is highly contagious – but the good news is that it’s stopped in its tracks by soap and water. This is one of our strongest weapons against the virus, and hygiene and cleanliness have never been more important.

To help stop the spread, all staff at RetireAustralia have completed mandatory refresher training on Infection Control policies and procedures – which have been reviewed and enhanced this year. We’ve also trained all staff on effective handwashing, and increased handwashing stations in village communal areas.

In addition, we have stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfectant and sanitiser on hand to maintain a clean and hygienic environment.

Keeping our villages safe. It’s impossible to guarantee that coronavirus will never enter one of our communities. But we’re doing everything we can to keep it out. These measures start at home, and our staff sign a health declaration each day before they start work.

We also have strict visitor guidelines, which means essential visits only – for personal or home care; delivery of food, medication and essential supplies; and compassionate reasons. Any visitors who meet one of these criteria must sign a health declaration before they enter the village.

Daily wellness check-ins. The current situation can feel lonely 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.

Looking after body and mind. We know that self-isolation and social distancing can take a toll on emotional and mental health, especially if we’re in this for the long haul. That’s why we’re giving advice to our residents about how to look after themselves physically and mentally. We’ve also given tips to families and friends for how to support their loved ones, so isolation doesn’t have to be isolating.

Grocery support. Across our communities we’re helping residents set up online ordering, or going to the supermarket on their behalf. Each village is unique so the details of this support may vary. But at each of our communities, there are friendly team members available to help you get what you need.

Connected communities. Social networks are more important than ever – even if they look a little different from what we’re used to. Our village teams and our residents are being as creative as possible to keep our communities connected, even while social distancing. We have a Good News Hub in the works to give you a glimpse at some of the ways our villages have been supporting each other – stay tuned for more!

Ultimately, the safety of our residents always comes first, and we’re doing all we can to keep residents healthy, connected, and informed. Living in a retirement village still comes with all the perks of independent living, but with an all-important safety net – ensuring you have support when you need it most.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our communities, we’d love to hear from you. You can even take a virtual tour of our villages – click here to find out more!

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