‘It seems a week is a long time in Victoria during the COVID-19 pandemic.’ This was the opening of my message last month, and this month it rings even more true. We in Victoria now find ourselves in a situation that can only be described as surreal. I’ll be honest: I’ve struggled this week, not knowing if this severe lockdown will work and whether there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I feel a little anxious about what the world will look like when this eventually ends. But I remind myself that it will eventually end: whether due to a vaccine, or eradication of the virus – it will eventually end. We must have hope and we must show kindness to our fellow Victorians. My message to our readers today is that you are not alone.
Many of you will have been saddened and angered by the incidence of COVID19 in residential aged care facilities in Victoria and related deaths. I want to express my sympathy to families and friends of those who have been affected. Our colleagues at COTA Australia have been working tirelessly to advocate for systemic improvements in aged care over many years. Some of you will have seen Ian Yates the COTA A CEO speaking recently on the current situation in Victoria. As you will be aware the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has also held a number of hearings to better understand the outbreaks of COVID19 in aged care.
The COTA Victoria team are still here promoting opportunities and protecting the rights of older Victorians. Many of our programs have been reinvented and adapted for no-contact delivery. It’s important that you maintain strength and agility and continue to exercise. If you’d like to learn more about safe progressive exercise tailored just for you, check out our Strength For Life program. If you think ‘online’ is too hard for you, read Faye’s story. We have a group of ‘Zoom Connectors’ who are ready to assist you to join in the online Zooming fun. Call us if you want to learn more.
There are several phone lines answering the questions older people have. Call our own Seniors Information Line on 1300 13 50 90 if you have any questions or would like to raise concerns, or call the Seniors Rights Victoria helpline on 1300 36 88 21 if you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse. And for your pandemic-related questions, there’s also the National COVID older person’s information line on 1800 17 18 66.
We remind our community that it’s permitted – and important – that you continue to attend your medical appointments, and it’s safe to do so. But if you have concerns about attending in person, please contact your doctor or specialist to discuss it with them – there may be alternatives.
My hope, as I listen to the calming sound of rain on my roof, is that next month I will open with ‘Welcome back, Victoria.’ Keep safe.