NSW Health's advice for over 70s during COVID-19 pandemic

ADVICE: There are no specific COVID-19 restrictions for people over 70 about self-isolating or staying home, but NSW Health advises that people in that age group are at greater risk of more severe symptoms if infected with the virus.
ADVICE: There are no specific COVID-19 restrictions for people over 70 about self-isolating or staying home, but NSW Health advises that people in that age group are at greater risk of more severe symptoms if infected with the virus.

Port Stephens' ageing population - with more than 15 per cent aged 70 or more - means that the community must be increasingly vigilant about the spread of COVID-19.

With that in mind, coupled with a new coronavirus outbreak in the community including at least four positive cases in as many days, NSW Health has provided some advice for the Port's over 70 year olds.

There are no specific restrictions for people over 70 about self-isolating or staying home, but NSW Health advises that people in that age group are at greater risk of more severe symptoms if infected with COVID-19.

"This may mean you want to be more cautious about who you choose to see and where you choose to go," a NSW Health spokesperson said.

"It's important that you follow the same health and safety advice that applies to the whole community: get tested if you have any symptoms; practice good hand hygiene; maintain a physical distance of at least 1.5m, unless you're in the same household; stay active and healthy; take extra care if you're around vulnerable people; and follow the rules about gatherings."

On face masks, the health advice is people don't have to wear them unless they choose to, or they are required to when entering a facility such as medical clinic or aged care home.

NSW Health recommends face masks for people who have symptoms and might be infected with COVID-19.

"They should wear a face mask when in the same room as another person and when seeking medical advice to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus."

When going to a crowded venues such as shopping centre or a place of worship, there are things people should expect will be different under COVID-19 restrictions.

"Depending on the premises, there may be limitations on how many people can enter at one time and everyone should maintain physical distancing and good personal hygiene," NSW Health said.

"Organisers should have conditions of entry at all entrances, and these should be available on the organisation's website and social media platforms. Staff may ask you to enter or leave the premises at a particular time or through a specific door to reduce crowding at the entrance or exit."

While you might not be able to see people in person, you can stay in touch by calling, emailing, texting or connecting by video call, NSW Health has advised senior citizens.

While you might not be able to see people in person, you can stay in touch by calling, emailing, texting or connecting by video call, NSW Health has advised senior citizens.

According to NSW Health, if someone is self-isolating they should take care of their mental well-being by staying connected with their community, family, and friends.

"While you might not be able to see people in person, you can stay in touch by calling, emailing, texting or connecting by video call," the authority said.

"The Tech Savvy Seniors Program provides low-cost training to seniors, helping with skills development and building confidence to access information and services online."

NSW Health says aged people should always beware of scams. "You can take simple steps to better protect your personal and financial information online."

"People can visit the Stay Smart Online website where they can learn how to protect themselves online; keep up with the latest online threats and know how to deal with them; and find out about help available if you are caught out by a scam."

It is important that seniors keeping active and healthy during the pandemic.

"If you are limiting your contact with other people you still need to look after your regular health. Keep yourself active and healthy by getting some fresh air and exercise; eating a healthy and balanced diet; looking after your regular medical needs; and keeping to an active and healthy daily routine."

NSW Health says it's important that seniors keeping active and healthy during the pandemic.

NSW Health says it's important that seniors keeping active and healthy during the pandemic.

Anyone requiring help at home should visit the My Aged Care website to find out about the home care available, even for a short time.

"This might include services that will help people stay well and independent; be safe in their own home; and keep in touch with their community," NSW Health stated.

"If you're feeling unwell or think you may have any COVID-19 symptoms, do not attend gatherings and get yourself tested. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a sore or scratchy throat; runny nose; cough; fever; muscle or joint pain; a change in taste or smell; or tiredness.

"Even if you only have mild symptoms, do not go out except to get tested as soon as possible. After you've been tested, you should stay home while you are waiting for test results."

NSW Health says that while many over 70 year olds may be fit and healthy, the age group remains at a higher risk of more serious illness from COVID-19.

"You do need to be careful around vulnerable people such as those who have a compromised immune system, such as cancer; have a diagnosed chronic medical condition; are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; or live in a group residential aged care facility," the authority said.

"If you have friends or family members who are vulnerable, you can help them by staying in touch, but not visiting vulnerable people if you are unwell and by dropping off groceries or other essentials if they need support."

For further information and advice people are urged to call these free services: Service NSW 13 77 88; National COVID older persons information line 1800 171 866 and National coronavirus helpline 1800 020 080.