Keeping well

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has seen many of us postpone non-critical health appointments. But conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart and kidney disease don’t stop during a pandemic. It’s important to keep monitoring existing health conditions, and getting new symptoms checked and diagnosed quickly.

Make sure you keep seeing your healthcare professionals and get help when you need it. It is safe to go to hospital if you need to.

Keep well and schedule that visit to your doctor, allied health professional or for an imaging or pathology test. Don’t forget, doctors can often make home visits or phone appointments. Talk to your GP about these options.

You can also call Nurse-on-call on 1300 606 024 to speak with a registered nurse for caring, professional health advice 24 hours a day.

Getting medications when you are staying at home

It is important that you continue to take medications that your doctor has prescribed.

If you are staying at home, your doctor can send your prescription straight to your pharmacy and ask them to deliver your medications and discuss payment arrangements with you. You can also choose to receive your prescription via mail, or a family member, friend or neighbour can pick up your medicine from the pharmacy on your behalf.

If you run out of medication you may be eligible to have your medication delivered to your home through the Home Medicine Service. Eligible people can get free home delivery of medications once a month. Speak to your pharmacist to find out more. There are limits on some medications, so you may only be given a supply for one month. If you need a new script, talk to your doctor.

Doctors, nurses and mental health professionals can deliver bulk-billed services via phone or video conferencing until 30 September 2020. Call your local GP or pharmacy to find out more.

Taking care of your mental health

The past few months have been challenging for many. The restrictions to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) have made it harder to stay connected, have a chat, and get support. Fear and anxiety about coronavirus (COVID-19) can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions.

While it might feel like we don’t have control of current events, it’s important to remember that we can do many things to feel empowered. Tips to help you stay calm and healthy:

  • maintain a healthy diet, exercise and sleep habits
  • talk about your worries or concerns with loved ones or friends. Or call a help line for a chat or advice
  • engage in hobbies and enjoyable activities
  • you may feel stressed listening to the news, so make sure you receive information through trusted and credible sources and make sure one of those sources is specific to your state.

For more information about managing stress and support options, call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services on 1800 512 348 (free call).

Emotional support

There are many ways to support other people or be supported if you are feeling anxious or uncertain.

The Australian Government has set up a free support line for senior Australians, their families and carers, giving practical help and advice to support mental health throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Call 1800 171 866 (free call) Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm.

Beyond Blue offers practical advice and resources at beyondblue.org.au. The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone on 1300 224 636.

Lifeline offers tips, resources and advice, as well as crisis and suicide support. Call 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days). Text 0477 13 11 14 (6pm to midnight AEDT, 7 nights).

If you are experiencing severe emotional distress or mental health issues, speak with your GP or mental health practitioner.

Keep active

You can also keep active at home. Try and go for regular walks as exercise is important for your physical health and wellbeing. Just make sure you keep 1.5m from people you don’t live with while you are out. Here are some more tips:

  • try and be physically active for 5 minutes every hour
  • use the kitchen bench for stability for exercises like walking sideways or marching on the spot
  • put some music on for motivation
  • exercise during television advertisement breaks.

And for strength and balance:

  • stand up from your chair 10 times
  • use the kitchen bench for stability and rise up onto your toes.

These exercises can be done every hour or so.

If you have any concerns about what exercise you can safely do, seek advice from your doctor, physiotherapist, or other health professional with expertise in exercise prescription.

Feeling safe

The behaviour of your partner or family members might have changed or escalated during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. If their behaviour makes you feel unsafe – it is not okay. You have the right to feel safe, access medical support, communicate with friends and family and to leave the house.

Safe Steps offers support for people and families needing help, support and advice to stay safe – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – call 1800 015 188 (free call).

Seniors Rights Victoria provides free advice and legal assistance – call 1300 368 821.

Men’s Referral Service provides support, information and counselling to men - call 1300 766 491.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000.