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Staying healthy, well and connected

As we navigate our third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it remains so important we do all that we can to take care of and prioritise our health and wellbeing.

Gerard Mansour
An older woman wears a yellow top and a face mask, she holds her shopping.

COVID-19 has changed so many aspects of our lives. Older people have been incredibly resilient in the face of the challenges of the pandemic – learning new skills, adopting healthy habits and looking out for each other.

Our collective response to the pandemic is far more a marathon than a sprint. While COVID-19 remains part of our daily lives, there are still many steps we can take to stay healthy, well and connected.

Find out if you are eligible for COVID-19 antivirals

Have you heard about the new medicines available for eligible people who have COVID-19? These medicines – known as antivirals – prevent people from getting so sick that they need to go to hospital, and they can be life-saving.

For COVID-19 medicines to work at their best, most must be started early, within the first 5 days of COVID-19 symptoms – so it’s important to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as you notice any symptoms.

COVID-19 medicines are only for people with COVID-19 who are more likely to need hospital care, including people aged 70 years and over, and those with other medical illnesses or risk factors. If you think you might be eligible, chat to your GP or read more about antiviralsExternal Link .

Stay up-to-date with your vaccinations

Getting vaccinated protects you against COVID-19, helps prevent you from getting seriously ill and reduces the spread of COVID-19 to others. COVID-19 vaccines are available free for everyone aged 5 and over at vaccination sites, pharmacies and GPs.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommendsExternal Link a fourth dose for adults aged 50 years and over, 3 months after receiving a third dose. If you have had COVID-19 and are due for your next dose, you should wait 3 months from testing positive before getting your next dose.

Antivirals do not replace vaccination. If you haven’t already, book your third or winter fourth dose at your GP or local pharmacy via the vaccine clinic finderExternal Link .

Choose to wear a mask indoors or in crowded spaces

Face masks are a simple way to help everyone stay well this winter. Masks can help protect against COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses like the flu. Wearing a face mask is strongly recommended if you are indoors, can’t physically distance, have any COVID-19 symptoms, or are with people who may be vulnerable to COVID-19.

I've continued wearing my face mask at the supermarket, and other indoors spaces, to protect myself and those around me. It’s an easy step I choose to take to stay safe.

Catch up outdoors or in well ventilated spaces

Did you know that the risk of COVID-19 transmission increases in poorly ventilated spaces? It sure has been a cold winter – but as we start to get into the warmer months, it’s a nice time to catch up with family and friends outside or in areas with good ventilation. At home you can open doors or windows to bring fresh air in, or use fans to improve air flow – especially when friends and family come over to visit. When I’m out and about, I like to sit outside at cafes or shop at some of our state’s great outdoor markets.

Keep up with your usual health appointments

It’s important to monitor your existing health conditions and seek healthcare if required. Keep up important scheduled medical appointments and take medications that your doctor has prescribed. If you have a new health concern, don’t delay in seeing your GP. If you are feeling anxious or distressed, a range of mental health supportsExternal Link are also available.

Stay connected with family and friends

Connecting with others is wonderful for your overall wellbeing. Everyone feels different about getting back out there and socialising – and that’s OK. There are so many ways to stay in touch these days. If you are unable to see friends and family in person, try talking on the phone, video or online. It can be really helpful to talk to someone, and to be an open ear for the people you love, too.

Consider getting into your community or volunteering

For many older Victorians, particularly those who are newly retired or semi-retired, getting involved in volunteering is an important part of our life plan. Sharing your skills, time and energy with your community as a volunteer can be rewarding, exciting and fun. Volunteering is also a great way to stay active and build new connections and friendships. Thanks to technology, there are even more ways to volunteer your time from home as well. See if there are any volunteering opportunities that interest you on the GoVolunteer websiteExternal Link .

More information – Information for older people and seniorsExternal Link

Older Persons Advocacy Network – COVID-19 informationExternal Link

Seniors Online - VolunteeringExternal Link

GoVolunteer – National volunteering databaseExternal Link

Reviewed 15 August 2022