In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have developed advice for older Queenslanders aged 65 years and over and First Nations people aged over 50 years. This page outlines the steps you, your family and friends can take to protect yourself and prevent spread of COVID-19.
Why is COVID-19 so dangerous for older people?
The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases with age. Globally the highest rate of fatalities is among older people, particularly those with other serious health conditions or a weakened immune system.
Those most at risk of more serious illness if they are infected include:
- people aged 70 years and over
- people aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
- people with compromised immune systems, and
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over.
Information for older Queenslanders
Can I leave my house?
We strongly urge you to stay at home for you own protection where possible, and take extra precautions to reduce the risk of illness from COVID-19, like strictly adhering to social distancing and hygiene guidelines and avoiding situations where you may come into contact with a lot of people.
What else can I do to protect myself?
Because you fall into a vulnerable group, even if you are feeling well it is important to take steps to prevent the spread of this virus. Good hygiene and social distancing, are the best defences for you against COVID-19.
To reduce your risk, it is important to follow these prevention measures.
It is important that you get the 2020 flu vaccination as soon as it is available from your GP or pharmacy.
What should I do if I get sick?
If you start to feel unwell, contact a doctor or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
How can I get medical help or order prescriptions from home?
The Australian Government has provided funding, so you can see your doctor and get your medicines from home. This way you can stay at home and protect yourself and others.
For more information, visit the Australian Government’s website.
There are many Queenslanders who’d love to help you as well—to have a chat over the phone, help you with groceries and medications. Find out more about Queensland’s Care Army.
How can I get food?
Some supermarkets have special arrangements for older people, including online food delivery services. Please contact your local supermarket for more information on these services.
If you need food or other essential supplies, call your Care Army on 1800 173 349 for assistance.
For more advice on grocery shopping, visit the Australian Government website.
Can I have visitors?
Even if they seem healthy and well, visitors could pose a risk to your health. Where contact with people is essential you must follow the social distancing guidelines.
In Queensland there are restrictions on the number of people you should have in your home. These limits do not apply to carers, support workers or other essential service providers.
What about home care and essential services like nurses who visit me at home?
Homecare workers and other providers of essential services are exempt from restrictions. These visits should continue as normal, while practising good hygiene and social distancing.
How can I stay connected with my friends and family?
Everyone should limit their physical interactions with people who are at higher risk of COVID-19. Social distancing does not mean you cannot be social, keep the conversations going by:
- Chatting on the phone
- Having a video call
- Writing an email
- Or even reading your grandchildren a story over a video call.
To find out more about how to stay in touch while being physically apart, read our blog.
How can I keep physically active?
Getting your body moving can improve how you feel physically and mentally. By staying at home you might not be able to do some of the types of exercise you normally enjoy, but there are lots of ways to keep moving while inside your house or backyard. We suggest:
- Trying some of the workout routines ‘Healthier. Happier.’ have put together – The over 60s workout is a great way to get started.
- You could try doing a yoga practise each day. YouTube has plenty of free classes, to suit your abilities.
- Try some of the suggestions in our ‘Staying active while staying at home’ blog post for older Queenslanders.
How can I look after my mental wellbeing?
I’m a grey nomad, what should I do?
If you are a grey nomad currently travelling in caravan or motor home, you should return home if you have one. Full time nomads should stop moving between towns and stay in the once place. Caravan parks and campgrounds can stay open for full time nomads.
You should stay in your caravan as much as possible. You can leave your caravan for essential reasons. But you should limit physical contact with others.
How can I access support?
- Health advice
- Practical support
- Mental health support
- National Disability Scheme and aged care services
- Domestic and family violence
- Other support services.
Information for friends and family
How can I help older Queenslanders?
- Check in often with older neighbours, friends and family and see how you might help.
- Ask for a shopping list and drop groceries and medicines at the front door. Make sure you follow social distancing rules.
- Join the Care Army — The Care Army brings Queenslanders together to help older people and people most at-risk.
- Even something as simple as a daily telephone call can make a huge difference.
- Use Queensland Health’s Kindness cards. Print them out and slip it into your older neighbours letterbox. We can all benefit from a little kindness.
I have caring responsibilities and look after someone else can I visit them?
The National Cabinet has issued strong advice for older Australians saying they should stay home. You can go beyond your home for compassionate reasons. If possible, explore options that give you a break from your caring responsibilities.
For more information visit the Carers Queensland website.
Can I visit friends and family in residential aged care?
To protect our most vulnerable visits to our residential aged care facilities have been restricted.
Some people are not allowed to visit residential aged care facilities. The aged care direction provides information on who can or can't visit a residential aged care facility, and the rules you need to follow.If you have concerns with the facility’s actions, contact:
- the Older Persons Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600, or
- make a complaint to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission on 1800 951 822.
What about end of life/palliative care?
Visiting someone facing the end of life is difficult but important. Palliative care is exempt to the social distancing rules. This means you can visit your loved one and bring other friends and family with you.
For more information, visit Advance Care Planning Australia.
What can I do to help people I know who are living with dementia?
Being able to tell others about potential COVID-19 symptoms may be hard for people living with dementia. In particular where they have trouble speaking or showing signs of pain or discomfort. You can help by identifying changes you see in their health.
Dementia Australia has created tips for carers, families and friends of people living with dementia.
The Australian Government has resources for older people, their families and friends.