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COVID-19: What seniors need to know


COVID-19: What seniors need to know

With the coronavirus pandemic now in full swing, we’re receiving so much information about what to do and what not to do that it can seem overwhelming for many of us.

This is a short summary of the most recent advice for seniors, who are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 disease.

Please stay at home

All people aged 70 and over must stay home at all times, as well as Indigenous people with pre-existing conditions over 50 and people with chronic medial conditions over 60.

This is not advice, this is a legal requirement.

This is because these groups are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus and have a much higher rate of fatalities among positive cases.

With no vaccine or cure currently available, self-isolation is the most effective method of avoiding the disease.

Estimates from the Imperial College London indicate that the fatality rate for the virus is 10 times higher for people aged over 80 than the general population, roughly one in 10 cases. That is shockingly high and should be a strong deterrent to going outside.

Access to food and groceries

If family members are unavailable to assist, services like Meals on Wheels provide fresh meals to your door without the need to leave your house.

Coles and Woolworths offer home delivery for most groceries too.

For vulnerable people in urgent need of support, the My Aged Care service (1800 200 422) can arrange for food and other groceries on short notice without any need for assessment.


The Australian government has also set up a new scheme to provide medicine to elderly Australians.

Several changes include the following:

  • Continued dispensing arrangements for the ongoing supply PBS subsidised medicines without a prescription will be extended to 30 June 2020.
  • A home delivery service for PBS and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) medicines is now in place.
  • Ongoing work with pharmacists, GPs and the States and Territories to allow medicine substitution by the pharmacist in the event of a shortage.
  • Restrictions on the quantity of medicines that can be purchased to prevent unnecessary medicine stockpiling.

You can read a full list of the changes here.

What to do next

Other than staying at home, there is not much more that can be done to keep yourself safe.

Continue to practise good hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, and coughing and sneezing into your elbow.

Symptoms for COVID-19 include fever, a dry cough, tiredness, a sore throat and difficulty breathing.

If you suspect you may have the disease, please call your GP and tell them your symptoms and whether you have been in contact with someone who may have the disease.

If you are having serious difficulty breathing, you should call 000.

Things are tough right now but it’s imperative that we all follow the experts’ advice and STAY HOME.