The Australian government recently advised senior Australians to stay at home for their own protection and to limit their interaction with others in the community. So, how can you help you elderly loved ones ensure that self-isolation doesn’t make them feel completely isolated? We interviewed our CEO, Nick McDonald, who is a registered nurse about the importance of helping our family members stay connected and healthy during the campaign to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Maintain a healthy daily routine
When we asked Nick for his thoughts on ways we can help our elderly loved ones stay healthy and happy at home the first thing that he highlighted was the importance of a daily routine. “At Prestige we already have clients who are restricted to their homes for reasons other than the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We always recommend that our clients keep up their normal daily routine, including eating well, drinking enough water, exercising and sleeping well. Having a regular bedtime can assist in maintaining a positive and healthy balance to your wellbeing so where possible advise your parent or loved one to go to bed around the same time each night.”
Practise good hygiene
Everyone can help to slow the spread of COVID-19 by practicing good hand hygiene. Nick referred to these 8 precautions recommended by the Department of Health which we ask all our carers to follow with our clients inside and outside of the homes:
1. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow
2. Dispose of tissues immediately after use into the rubbish bin and washing hands afterwards
3. Wash hands often with water and soap, before and after eating, after using the toilet and after visiting the shops or being outdoors
4. Wipe down and disinfecting surfaces prior to touching them with antibacterial wipes
5. Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers,
6. Keep a distance of 1.5m between you and others
7. Avoid contact with others altogether when unwell
8. Maintain contactless transactions i.e. not signing for parcel deliveries to your home
It is also important to stay connected with your family and friends and your local community. We’ve got a lot of different technology options now such as the phone, apps, email and social media to help us maintain those relationships from home. Nick pointed out that this can be more difficult for our elderly clients, which is why it can be extremely helpful for them to have a support person who makes regular visits and can provide assistance with self-isolation and daily life at home.
Help your parent or loved one set up regular face-time calls with family and friends via skype, Facebook, WhatsApp or Zoom via your phone, tablet or laptop. If you are working from home or have limited time to do this, you might want to consider seeking a few hours of in-home support each week so your mum or dad can be assisted with these activities. Our care workers can help your loved ones stay in touch with you and their friends, grandchildren and other relatives. Even becoming ‘pen pals’ can be a fun and easy way to communicate with the right support.
Be smart about spending time outdoors
The current advice for Australians aged 70 years and over, people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions, people with compromised immune systems, and indigenous Australians over the age of 50 is to self-isolate at home to the maximum extent practicable. But this doesn’t mean they cannot go outside.
It is important to go outside, stretch your legs and soak up some vitamin D in your yard, on your balcony or in the street outside your residence. Being stuck in a room all day can affect your mental health, so changing your environment is really important. The government advice states that senior Australians can “go outside and be accompanied by a support person for the purposes of getting some fresh air, some recreation.” Go for a short walk and do some light exercise, even just for ten minutes a day if you can. Nick pointed out that if physically stepping outside isn’t an option for you or your loved ones, opening the windows and allowing fresh air and light to enter the house can be just as beneficial.
Whilst outdoors, our carers assist clients to follow physical distancing rules at all times. These rules include maintaining a distance of 1.5m from others, and avoiding handshakes and other physical greetings altogether. When our carers transport clients to and from medical appointments, we ensure that the client is sitting in the back seat diagonal to the driver, adhering to the latest guidelines provided by the government.
Find ways to relax
Nick mentioned that his elderly parents are currently spending time reading and doing the odd bit of gardening when it’s nice outside. Encourage your parents to time doing the things they love, but perhaps also take up a new hobby. From sudoku and jigsaw puzzles to meditating, colouring and even learning how to use social media networks to share photos and recipes, there a lots of ways to keep your loved ones’ mentally active and in a positive mindset.
Our care workers can assist you in attending to some light gardening, watering and planting herbs and vegetables. If newspapers are not accessible for you at the moment, you might like to read the news online but encourage your loved ones not to consume too much news, especially about the coronavirus pandemic as it could become an unnecessary cause of stress in their day-to-day lives.
Prestige Inhome Care is able to assist your loved ones during self-isolation through our in-home support services such as:
- delivery of groceries
- meal preparation
- transport to/from medical appointments and;
Our in-home support services are recognised as essential for the community. If you or your family members need help navigating self-isolation or daily life at home, just reach out to our friendly team on 1300 10 30 10 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s more important than ever to stay connected and support our loved ones to live happy and healthy lives at home.