The Lived experiences of older people during the COVID-19 pandemic
We know older people are experts in managing their own lives. The COVID 19 pandemic has created many new and different challenges, and for many of us this has meant drawing on the resilience we have developed over a lifetime. Sometimes being involved in a project like this, where we must think about our mental health and our experiences of the pandemic, can be upsetting. But there are practical things we can do to improve and maintain our wellbeing.
Simple Strategies to help you feel better
Look after your physical health
Experts advise that eating well, staying active, and getting enough sleep are essential for healthy bodies and body functioning, even if your abilities are more
limited than they used to be. Even 15 minutes of walking can also improve your mood, build confidence and memory, help reduce feelings of depression and help you sleep better.
Stay informed using factual and reliable sources
Australian and state government sources, as well as the World Health Organization, are considered reliable for facts and figures. Limit exposure to repeated news updates that reinforce negative messages, perhaps by setting a specific time each day to watch or listen to news broadcasts. Be prepared to focus on other things throughout the day.
Look after your mental health
Stay connected with family or friends, even if only by phone, so you can talk to someone who knows you well, someone you can share your feelings with. Social
connection can help you feel less lonely and isolated, as well as improve mood and self-confidence. As restrictions ease, volunteering to help others, joining
community groups and re-engaging with previous interests.
Contacts for help and support
For many reasons, the strategies mentioned won’t meet everyone’s needs. That’s an unfortunate fact. Some of us live with disabilities, and will have difficulty exercising; some of us are simply unable to vary our diets; and frankly, some of us just don’t have the energy to make changes. If we can help you to reach out to the agencies listed in this is brochure, we will. There will be a helping hand to support you.
Your local doctor or GP is a great place to start for health and wellbeing advice and support. They also have access to information about free and low-cost support options for you. State and Territory health departments have information about local health services and support for people affected by the pandemic.
If you feel the need to talk to someone about your current challenges support is available through these telephone services:
- Beyond Blue
- Ph: 1800 512 348 for their Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support
- 13 11 14 for people experiencing emotional distress
- Older Persons COVID Support Line
- 1800 171 866
- Friend Line
- 1800 424 287 (1800 4 CHATS) for a free and anonymous opportunity for older Australians to chat to a volunteer
- Carer Gateway
- 1800 422 737 for information or support for those caring for an older person
- National Coronavirus Helpline
- 1800 020 080 for information on COVID-19 or help with the COVIDSafe app
- Aged Care COVID-19 Grief & Bereavement Service 1800 222 200
- For translating and interpreting services call 131 450.
- For more online resources go to cota.org.au