2020 has been a difficult year for many people, we started off with a horrendous fire season, then in March the COVID-19 Coronavirus began to impact on us. However, as cases of COVID-19 are greatly reduced it’s a good time to start planning to get back out in the community.
Here at Active Care Network, we have lots of interesting outings arranged to get you out of the house. So now is the time to get back on the Community Transport bus and get on with enjoying your life!
To help you along and build on your wellbeing, we have also compiled a few recommendations from NSW Health, Beyond Blue, Lifeline and some leading public health organisations. We have also added our own ‘Expert tips’ to help you focus on your wellbeing.
The COVID- 19 pandemic has meant that many of us have become more isolated. Being socially isolated particularly in older Australians is linked to many negative physical and mental health issues that may have serious long term impacts on us. To avoid social isolation it’s important to stay connected to other people and participate in the community.
EXPERT TIP Try having a chat to your neighbour over the fence or giving a friend or relative a call or better still go and visit them!
Importantly our Community Transport Social Outings are a great way get out into the community and socialise with others (you might even make some new friends!). Don’t forget to take a mask, water (particularly as we move into the hotter months), regular medications, a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and wear clothes that give you plenty of sun protection.
EXPERT TIP As we age many of us do not drink enough water so make sure you are drinking enough water at home, and take water when you are out to stay hydrated.
As we age we may become more dependent on others. Whilst we may need help with things we used to find easier to do, it is important to remember that retaining our independence is vitally important. Retaining independence also means we can live in our own homes, and prolong or possibly avoid the need for us to go into aged care. Research also proves that most people are happier and healthier if they can remain living at home. It’s also important to understand that Community Transport is a vital part of retaining independence as it provides community access that works for older Australians.
Unfortunately some older people become victims of abuse. Elder Abuse is often a taboo subject, and it may be hidden away and not spoken about. However the long term impacts on a person’s physical and mental health can be dire. Another sobering fact is that the COVID-19 pandemic has also seen an increase in the abuse of older Australians. And sadly often the perpetrator is a relative or friend. The reality is that everyone has the right to live free from abuse and help is available. See back page for more information and Helpline.
Being an active senior starts as a state of mind as our thoughts have a great influence on how our lives progress. Even people with serious physical limitations who have a positive outlook will have a better quality of life than a person in a similar situation who does not think positively. So wellbeing really does start in your head! The following is some professionally sourced advice to help you be a better being.
Maintain your daily routine as this will give you structure and surety as things around us change.
Don’t get locked into the 24/7 news cycle, stay informed but not overloaded with bad news as constantly hearing bad news may make us feel worse.
Regular stretching and light exercise can really help your general physical and mental health.
EXPERT TIP If you aren’t currently doing any regularly exercise it is prudent to speak to your doctor first to get the all clear to go ahead. Hobbies are also very beneficial to our physical and mental health.
Hobbies may include things like sewing, knitting, painting, and woodworking or they may take many other forms.
EXPERT TIP If you have access to a garden, this is a great natural way to exercise. Gardening is also very therapeutic for your mental health and a big bonus is that you can beautify your yard or grow some fresh herbs and vegies to eat!
When our lives are stressful particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s normal to be worried. Sometimes we can deal with this ourselves however, it often helps to talk to someone else.
Even with all the best intentions
and good habits things become too much for us to deal with. If you notice things like changes in your sleeping or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening physical or mental health conditions, increasing alcohol intake or negative ways of coping then it would be best to get some professional assistance to help you with this.