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How seniors can come out of isolation on top

With seniors more at risk of Coronavirus leading to serious illness, staying at home has made good sense. But it’s not easy being away from friends and loved ones for a long time and many have dearly missed hugging their grandchildren. 

Here’s how seniors have kept busy during isolation, and some tips for how to keep the worries at bay as restrictions ease.

Getting social during social isolation


There’s no denying that staying home has been the best defence against Coronavirus. The less contact you have with other people, the easier it is to stay healthy. But staying at home day after day has been a tough ask – especially for people who live alone. Being unable to hug your grandchildren, catch up with your friends or enjoy your usual social activities has taken a toll on the emotional and mental health of many Australians.


So how have older Australians kept their spirits up and maintained contact with their loved ones during social isolation?


Many seniors have embraced video conferencing apps so they can talk ‘face to face’ with their friends and family – if only virtually. Scheduling a series of regular catch-ups has helped to give people something to look forward to each day. Older Australians are also getting creative on social media –and connecting with communities around the world through initiatives like The Kindness Pandemic, where people share their experiences of random acts of kindness.


Others have taken advantage of their free time to help others, such as sewing masks for health careworkers and homeless shelters or cooking meals for frontline employees. You can contact your local council to see if they’re running any initiatives for residents, or search for volunteer opportunities in your area.

Staying physically and mentally well


A brisk 30-minute walk each day can be a great way to keep fit – making sure you keep the obligatory1.5 metres away from others. As restrictions ease, it will become less stressful for you to head out of the house which is an added benefit. Those that are unable to go for walks have been finding other ways to keep physically active at home. Seniors are using housework, gardening, washing the car, climbing stairs, carrying and unpacking the groceries, and doing stretching exercises to stay in shape. They’re also downloading exercise apps or following exercise routines via online streaming.


The benefits of physical exercise include:

  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • A reduced risk of injury and falls
  • More mobile joints
  • Better mental health


As well as exercise, be sure to keep up regular health checks and see a doctor if you’re unwell. While face-to-face consultations are still available, many doctors and medical centres have also been offering healthcare from home using phone or video conferencing if you’re still not comfortable venturing out. If you get help at home through a Home Care Package, and you need extra services–like having someone do your shopping, you can contact your provider* directly.


Whether you’re still in self-isolation or not, it’s also important to set aside time each day to do things that you enjoy. Many Australians, both young and old, are getting back into simple activities such as reading, gardening, doing puzzles, baking, colouring in or drawing, crafts and woodwork. These types of mindful activities are a great way to reduce stress and improve your mental wellbeing. Senior Australians have also taken up online learning to fill in free time. The government’s BeConnected website is a great resource for those looking to develop digital skills and confidence and to connect you to online learning tools.

Taking care of your finances


If you’re already retired and are drawing pension payments from your super, you can take advantage of the government’s temporary reduction to minimum drawdown rates. This could give you more flexibility with your retirement income and provides you with the option to leave more of your retirement savings invested. You can read more about it on our website.


Finally, if you’re trying to tighten the purse strings while we’re in uncertain times, you might want to try our budgeting calculator. It’s a great way to take a closer look at what money is coming in compared to what’s going out, so you can see where you may be able to make some cuts.

Tips for heading out post-isolation

  1. Stay calm. Restrictions have eased, so it’s important to ease your worries too. If you’re feeling anxious, depressed or lonely, call the new free phone service dedicated to help older Australians and their families and carers on 1800 171 866.
  2. Stay connected. Be sure to let your loved ones know when you’re heading out if required and download the COVIDSafe app. You might also consider getting a personal monitoring system. This wearable device allows you to notify a staffed centre or family in an emergency with the click of a button. You may be able to use your Home Care Package to access a monitoring service.
  3. Stay informed. Know what the rules are for your state and local area in terms of what you can and can’t do. Change is happening rapidly and as we move through each phase to relax restrictions, it’s important to keep on top of government updates.


*Colonial First State is not affiliated with any of the third-party providers listed in this article and does not endorse the use of any of the mentioned tools or products. Please consider the privacy, security and any other relevant risks that may apply from the use of these tools. This information should only be treated as educational and not taken as any form of advice including but not limited to financial, business, health or marketing. Seek professional advice when necessary.