It wasn't that long ago that people were making jokes about the coronavirus, COVID-19. Yet, now, city streets are quiet, and it's been days (or even weeks) since many people left their homes.

Now, more than ever, it is critical to respect and follow the advice of governing bodies such as the the Australian Department of Health, and Department of Health and Human Services Victoria.

But it's hard to know what to do. How do you keep the loved ones in your life safe? Especially if they are older than 70, and live at home alone or in an aged care residence?

Maintain social distancing

Unfortunately, you must respect social distancing. If you need to drop supplies off to an elderly loved one who lives alone, keep a distance of 1.5 metres (two arms) between the two of you.

Be vigilant about sanitising and hand washing
According to the World Health Organisation, to wash your hands properly and get rid of germs takes as long as singing the happy birthday song, twice. You need to also wash with soap, using hot water. Hot water is one of the most effective killers of the COVID-19 virus.

If you need to go to the shops, or you're an essential service worker, use sanitiser after touching products on the shelves, bags, door handles, or any other products or services which other people may have touched.

Many supermarkets and shops have sanitiser stations at the entrances, so take advantage of these every time you shop. After you've sanitised your hands, avoid touching your face, hair, or mouth. This is the most common way the virus is spread.

Respect visiting times

If you have a loved one in an aged care residence, obey the restrictions placed on visiting times. Use technology to reach out, instead. With Facetime, Zoom, Google Meet Ups, and many other video call applications, it's easier than ever to stay connected remotely.

Most aged care support workers can help facilitate these meetings. And if, for some reason, you can't connect, get in touch with the residence and ask management what they are doing to keep your loved one from feeling isolated.

Stay informed

One of the best things you can do is remain vigilant about any updates to procedures surrounding COVID-19. Restrictions, and qualifications for getting tested, are changing almost weekly. It's important to understand what the symptoms are, and when you should seek medical attention.

If you suspect you have COVID-19, or someone you live with does, self-isolate. It's the number one thing you can do to protect your loved ones. The sooner this strain of the coronavirus reduces and stops, the sooner your loved one is safe to leave the house again.

Reach out

The mental wellbeing of older family members and loved ones who live on their own has become almost as concerning as their physical health. The number one thing you can do to help prevent them from feeling isolated? Get creative.

Offer to help in their gardens, and ask them to leave the front door open so you can chat while maintaining social distancing.
Teach them a gentle dance routine from across the driveway.
If they have a support worker, get in touch with them and leave them letters to pass on, with pressed flowers inside.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed and sad during these times. But the sooner we all respect social distancing, social isolation, and healthy hygiene habits, the sooner we can all connect in person again.

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Article provided by Absolute Care & Health