How to support your older loved ones during Victoria's second lockdown
3rd August 2020
It’s a particularly strange and stressful time as we go in and out of lockdown and experience 'Stay at Home' restrictions in Victoria. Not only do we worry for our own health but also for the wellbeing of our older or more vulnerable loved ones.
What we do know, is that there are key steps you can take to look after and protect your older loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If your older mother, father, friend or relative lives at home on their own - the priority is to support them to avoid getting sick, but also to ensure they can continue to maintain their quality of life and independence and that social isolation has as little impact as possible.
If you’re choosing to visit your loved one in their own home under the care-giving exemption in the Stage 3 and 4 restrictions, please:
- Avoid physical contact – even if you do not feel unwell. COVID-19 spreads very easily, so the safest thing is to stay at least 1.5 metres from your loved one. Unfortunately this means no kissing, hugging, handshakes or physical displays of affection – however you can verbally show your love and support.
- Make sure you wash your hands before entering, and continue to do so frequently. Do not touch your face, and if you do – make sure to wash your hands. Use hand sanitiser when hand wash is not available.
- Encourage your loved one to talk about how they feel - never underestimate the benefit of a meaningful conversation.
- If you are doing cleaning chores or other housework, have your loved one sit somewhere comfortable away from you while you work, so you are not in close contact.
If you can't or choose not to visit, there are still some great ways to support your loved ones:
- We recommend you maintain contact through regular phone calls, mail or online. Like everyone, your loved one may be feeling stressed and isolated so a daily conversation goes a long way.
- Ask them if they've had enough of their regular medications.
- Drop over a home-cooked meal or a thoughtful gift. The Department of Health and Human Services recommend you leave a package on their doorstep without making physical contact.
- Offer your help, whether that be to do the grocery shopping for your loved one – or running everyday errands for them to ensure they can stay home.
- Encourage them to spend some time outside in the sunshine or fresh air (if they have their own back or front yard). Please encourage them to do so within the current restriction rules.
- Advise your loved one to reduce the amount of time spent reading the news.
- Help your loved one join an online support community.
- Encourage them to find time to do things they enjoy, perhaps that's keeping up with the gardening, doing a puzzle or some craft.
Please be assured that as an essential service Benetas will continue providing the care and support needed by older people in our community.
If your capacity for visiting your loved one is limited, you can arrange for a Benetas home care worker to pay a visit to your loved one and offer some simple companionship or help around the home. Our care workers have been trained in hyper-vigilant health and safety protocols for COVID-19 and have the appropriate personal protective equipment. Rest assured, we have strict protocols in place to ensure we are our care workers do not work when unwell, impacted by the virus or when they've been in contact with someone who has.
Services available include housework and cleaning, help with grocery shopping, personal care, companionship, transport to and from appointments, gardening, nursing and much more.