CEO update to MCT Village Residents
1 April, 2020
Dear valued community members of Masonic Care Tasmania (MCT) villages,
As you know, the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents, clients and staff is always our priority. We are actively monitoring information provided by the Australian Government Department of Health in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert, and are taking active measures to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our community.
I have attached a copy of the COVID-19 Fact Sheet prepared by the Australian Government Department of Health, for your information.
Below are the COVID-19 key facts and measures that you, your family and friends can take to protect older Australians. During this challenging time for our community, we are asking for your support to:
- Cancel social activities at your village
- Limit the number of outsiders coming into your village
Advice for Senior Australians including those with existing health conditions
Coronavirus has more serious impacts on older Australians, those over 70 years of age and Australians with existing health conditions or comorbidities.
National Cabinet’s strong advice is for self-isolation at home to the maximum extent practicable for Australians:
- over 70 years of age;
- over 60 years of age who have existing health conditions or comorbidities;
- indigenous Australians over the age of 50 who have existing health conditions or comorbidities.
These groups should limit contact with others as much as possible when they travel outside.
What can I do to protect myself at home?
Even if you are feeling well, it is important to take steps to prevent the spread of this virus. Good hygiene and taking care when interacting with other people are the best defence for you and your family against COVID-19. This includes:
- covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
- disposing of tissues immediately they are used, into a dedicated waste bin, and washing your hands
- washing your hands often with soap and water, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet, and when you have been out to shops or other places
- using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, where available
- cleaning and disinfecting surfaces you have touched
- where possible, stay 1.5 metres away from other people as an example of “social distancing”
- if you are sick, avoiding contact with others.
If you start to feel unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, phone the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or your GP who will be able to provide you with further advice.
Older people aged over 70 (or over 50 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) or people with chronic conditions are able to seek medical support from their GPs through bulk-billed telehealth (videolink) and telephone services. Examples of possible video applications include FaceTime and Skype.
Medical practitioners must be satisfied that the services they use to video link with their patients meet current standards and laws regarding privacy and information security.
Can I still have contact with friends and family?
The Australian Government is requiring everyone to practise social distancing, which means less contact between you and other people to help slow the spread of the disease. You should limit physical contact with other people, especially young children, and avoid large groups of people. Limit your visitors to one or two people per day, and limit the duration of visits. This will help protect you and help stop the spread of disease.
It’s possible that children and young people may be carriers of COVID-19 but show no symptoms, making it extremely difficult to tell if it’s safe for them to visit an older relative.
These measures may be stressful for you and your loved ones. You can keep in touch via phone and video calls, send postcards, photos or artwork, or film short videos to share.
If you regularly visit someone living with a cognitive impairment, consider other ways of maintaining social contact will help reassure individuals who may feel anxious about possible changes to their day to day life. You can also contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
For the latest advice and information, go to www.health.gov.au.
You can also download the ‘“Coronavirus Australia” government app in the Apple App Store or Google Play, and follow MCT on Facebook.
How can your family and friends help you and other older people?
They should regularly check in with you, and see how they might help you. A simple trip to the supermarket or pharmacy on your behalf is a practical way to help you.
Continued and regular communication will be important. Friends and family can help you to keep in touch by enabling you to use mobile phones, and video call systems, such as Skype or FaceTime.
Keeping people connected is a priority for us at MCT and we are always exploring new ways for our community to stay in touch. We are aware that some telephone and internet providers, such as Telstra and Optus, are providing additional benefits and extra data to existing clients. Contact your local provider for more information about these extra data offers.
Can I leave my home for exercise or other outdoor activities?
Maintaining a good diet and exercise routine is important for your wellbeing and mental health, particularly during this challenging time.
Exercise regularly at home. Options could include exercise DVDs, dancing, floor exercises, yoga, walking around the backyard or using home exercise equipment.
You can leave your house to go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you are well and you stay away from other people.
Please remember, if you are impacted by the virus, we are here to help. If you require any additional assistance at this time, please let your village manager know so that we can ensure you have all the support you need.
And please, keep us updated should your personal circumstances change, or should you have any questions or concerns at all. You are not alone, we are all in this together, and MCT is here to help.
Thank you for your support and ongoing commitment to MCT.
Chief Executive Officer
Masonic Care Tasmania