Coronavirus

What do Older Adults need to know?

Early data suggest older people are more likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. This may be because immune systems change with age, making it harder to fight off diseases and infection. Older adults also are more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness.

In addition, people of all ages, seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness if they have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

Reducing exposure is especially important for people at higher risk of complications!

If you are at higher risk, we recommend that you:

  • Stay at home as much as possible, if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. 
  • Make sure you have access to several weeks of medications and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time. 
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Plan now for what you will do if you, or people you rely on for support, become ill.

Planning is key!

A COVID-19 outbreak could last for a long time in your community. Depending on the severity of the outbreak, local public health officials may recommend community actions designed to help keep people healthy, reduce exposures to COVID-19, and slow the spread of the disease.  Creating a household plan can help protect your health and the health of those you care about in the event of an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community. You should base the details of your household plan on the needs and daily routine of your household.

Everyday actions to prevent illness

Everyone, regardless of age or disability, should follow recommendations to help prevent the spread of all respiratory diseases, including colds and flu and COVID-19. For example:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing,or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

    Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs

  • COVID-19 symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. These include:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face
    • This list is not all inclusive. Consult your medical provider for any other symptom that is severe or concerning.
  • At all times we recommend following the guidance issued by state and local health departments.
  • A 24-hour National Coronavirus Health Information Line is available on 1800 020 080. The line provides health and situation information on the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Further information specific to aged care can consumer and their families can be found on the Department of Health’s website http://health.gov.au/resources/collections/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-resources
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