The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. The elderly have suffered the greatest impact, and accordingly, it has resulted in major changes in Retirement Villages and Residential Aged Care Facilities. As you are aware, individuals in these facilities are more vulnerable to serious complications if they do become infected with the virus.
Generally, residents in Retirement Villages have their own homes while sharing common facilities for recreation and other activities. From this perspective, it is similar to all parts of society in terms of maintaining social distancing. Restrictions have been placed in regard to ensuring all visitors sign in, designating a single entrance point to the village, screening processes for residents and visitors as well as limiting visits to a shorter duration.
In relation to Aged Care, the NSW Government released the Public Health (COVID-19 Aged Care Facilities) Order 2020. This is a mandated approach with strict guidelines which operators must adhere to. As an example, there is now a requirement for each individual to provide proof of receiving an up-to-date vaccination against influenza in 2020.
While a resident’s physical health in either a Retirement Village or Aged Care Facility is paramount, it also becomes a balancing act in relation to their mental health and personal welfare. This is a challenging time where the elderly may feel like they are secluded from society. This is an area where both Retirement Village and Aged Care Operators must focus on to ensure residents are in an adequate mental state.