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COVID-19 advice for seniors

How the COVID-19 restrictions affect you and where you can get support and information.

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Leaving the house

There are no specific restrictions for people over 70 about self-isolating or staying home. You can choose when you go out, where you visit, and when to have visitors. 

However, NSW Health advises that people over 70 are at greater risk of more severe symptoms if they are 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.

Whatever you decide, it’s important that you follow the same health and safety advice that applies to the whole community:

Face masks

It is recommended that you wear a face mask

  • when physical distancing can't be guaranteed
  • if you have symptoms and are seeking medical advice
  • if you are in self-isolation and in the same room as another person
  • if you are required to when entering a premises or facility such as medical clinic or aged care home
  • it is recommended by NSW Health. 

Health care workers who are caring for patients with suspected COVID-19 should use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect themselves against the virus.

Going to a place of worship

When you go to your place of worship there are things you 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.
  • Staff or people required for the services may be allowed in addition to guests and not count towards the limit. This is only allowed if physical distancing and other COVID-19 precautions are observed.
  • Everyone should maintain physical distancing and good personal hygiene.
  • 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.
  • Individuals, businesses and organisations must comply with the current public health orders restrictions and manage risks (including COVID-19) to staff and other people under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

Aged care residences

If you are living in or visiting a residential aged care facility, NSW Health recommends that visitors should not enter the facility if they have

  • not been vaccinated against influenza (after 1 May 2020)
  • symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste
  • been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • returned from overseas in the past 14 days.

Visits should be limited, by

  • staying for a short duration and a maximum of two visitors at one time per day
  • not allowing large group visits, gatherings, social activities or entertainment (including school groups of any size)
  • visiting in the resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific designated area rather than in communal areas
  • encouraging all visitors to practice physical distancing where possible, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.

Exemptions can be assessed by the facility as required, such as when a resident is in palliative care.

Anyone with a temperature of 37.5 degrees or higher, or symptoms of acute respiratory infection, must not enter or remain in a residential aged care facility.

Staying connected when self-isolating

If you are self-isolating for any reason, take care of your mental wellbeing by staying connected with your 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.

Connect online

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

The program is delivered by community colleges and libraries at locations across NSW. Find out more about how you can access the training.

Beware of scams

You can take simple steps to better protect your personal and financial information online.

Visit the Stay Smart Online website where you can

  • learn how to protect yourself online
  • keep up with the latest online threats and know how to deal with them
  • find out about help available if you are caught out by a scam.

Keeping active and healthy

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
  • keeping to an active and healthy daily routine.

Get help at home

If you need help at home, visit the My Aged Care website to find out about the home care available to you on an ongoing basis or even for a short time. This might include services that will help you

  • stay well and independent
  • be safe in your home
  • keep in touch with your community.

If you’re feeling unwell 

Do not attend religious services, weddings, funerals or other gatherings in person if you are feeling unwell or think you may have any COVID-19 symptoms.

You may want to ask the organisers if they will livestream the event so that you can watch it online and participate from home.

Symptoms of COVID‐19 include

  • fever
  • cough
  • a sore or scratchy throat
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • loss of smell or
  • loss of taste.

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.

Who is at higher risk of COVID-19

You may be fit and healthy however NSW Health advice is that being over 70 means you’re at a higher risk of more serious illness from COVID-19.

This does not mean you have to stay home or avoid seeing people but you may want to be more cautious about where you go and who you see.

Each of us needs to balance our own personal risk when it comes to resuming the activities you enjoyed before the spread of COVID‐19.

Vulnerable people

You do need to be careful around vulnerable people and NSW Health asks older and medically vulnerable people to limit their activities to protect themselves. 

NSW Health considers people are more vulnerable to coronavirus infection if they:

  • have a compromised immune system, such as cancer
  • have a diagnosed chronic medical condition
  • are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • live in a group residential aged care facility.

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
  • dropping off groceries or other essentials if they need support.

Information and advice

You can call these free services for information about COVID-19 or help with home care, transport, social connection or financial support.

Service NSW

National COVID older persons information line

  • Phone: 1800 171 866
  • Open: 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Closed public holidays.
  • Practical help and advice on the current guidelines and support available.

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)

Coronavirus disability information helpline

National coronavirus helpline

Translating and Interpreting Services

National Relay Service

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