Skip to main content

Retirement Communities – COVID-19 updates

There is a lot of work being done across our Retirement Communities to ensure we are taking all necessary precautions and putting plans in place to maintain everyone’s wellbeing. 

We acknowledge how important maintaining connection is to everyone's wellbeing and we are doing as much as possible to limit the disruption to usual routines for our residents, whilst enhancing their level of protection.

As a result of advice from the Australian Government and Department of Health, we are increasing restrictions within this community. This means you will notice some changes, including:

  • large inter-community social events will be cancelled
  • access for Australian Unity corporate employees and contractors will be minimised. 

We would like to reassure you that these are purely precautionary measures and all employees based in the community will remain working there at this stage.

Important updates

We have reviewed the additional social distancing and essential services measures announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this week.

These announcements stated that non-essential services and businesses must close. This includes indoor sports venues such as gyms and swimming pools, along with other non-essential services and places of social gathering.

After a thorough review of government requirements, and to best protect the health and wellbeing of all our residents, Australian Unity is following the government advice and has made the decision to close a number of communal areas that cannot safely be used while meeting the one person per four-square-metre requirement. These closures will be in place for at least the next 14 days, unless otherwise advised by government authorities.

Community centres, receptions and foyers will remain open as an access point, however they are not to be used as a place to gather. Site-based shops, kiosks and outdoor spaces will remain open as well for the time being, however residents are asked to strictly follow social distancing practices of 1.5 metres between each person present.

On Sunday 22 March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced additional measures, many of which will directly affect residents as part of stage one restrictions.

This included that non-essential services and businesses must close. This includes indoor sports venues, such as commercial gyms and indoor swimming pools, along with other non-essential services. 

To ensure we protect the health and wellbeing of all our residents and the community, Australian Unity has decided to temporarily close the communal areas for 48 hours, while we establish how we can adhere to the governments’ stage one restrictions.

Over the coming days we will be reviewing what services we can re-open in line with the non-essential services shut down and provide guidance on the number of people who can safely use a space while meeting the one person per four-square-metre requirement.

How you can support us

 

The Prime Minister also made an announcement restricting visitor access to aged care facilities. It is important to know that while these mandatory restrictions do not apply to retirement communities, the need to do everything possible to protect our residents and employees from COVID-19 transmission is just as important here.

We ask the following of residents: 

  • Consider using phone or video calls as regular communication with family members and friends, or limit visits to a short duration conducted in a residence or outdoors, rather than in community areas where the risk of transmission is higher. 
  • Practice social distancing, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people. Avoid close contact with others, such as touching, kissing or hugging, or any gatherings with other residents. 
  • Organise to receive the annual influenza vaccination through your GP or local pharmacy. Note this will prevent against influenza and its complications, but not against COVID-19. 
  • Continue to follow good hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing. 
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell or if you are required to self-isolate. If you develop flu-like symptoms, please seek medical attention and alert a member of our team. 
Additionally, we are asking all visitors, including our contractors, service and home care providers, as well as family and other guests, to register their visit by completing a voluntary form available at reception. This form provides a register to assist health authorities trace people who might be subsequently exposed to COVID-19. 

 

  • We have reached out to all residents to complete a ‘Tell Us About You’ form—this has allowed us to update the contact list so we can communicate essential information to you as quickly as possible
  • We are working through how we can best support our communities and ensure our employees can remain on site
  • We have reviewed all planned social events for the coming month and have cancelled many large, inter-community events to reduce the number of visitors on site.
  • We will also ensure that all events and community spaces actively promote social distancing measures
  • We are engaging with residents' committees to ensure our efforts to manage COVID-19 risks takes the perspective of our residents into account.
  • We have increased the cleaning schedule and are using hospital-strength cleaning products for all our community spaces  
  • Additional training on infection control for all employees has been conducted and will continue as needed
  • We continue to closely monitor government advice and are taking all necessary actions to best protect the safety and wellbeing of our employees and residents
  • In this regard, it is essential for all residents, employees and visitors to adhere to the self-isolation requirements set by the Australian Government. These requirements now mandate that any person arriving from overseas is required to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival—this is regardless of the location you were in.  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced new measures for protecting the community from the spread of COVID-19. This announcement included:

  • an indefinite level 4 travel ban in place for the entire world
  • a ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of 100 people or more and non-essential outdoor gatherings of 500 or more
  • social distancing recommendations remain in place, including advice to not handshake or hug
  • new measures are in place for visiting elderly relatives in aged care. In end-of-life situations, facilities will have the discretion to put very strict arrangements in place to enable family members to see relatives outside of these restrictions.

What you can do?

To help reduce risks to residents, we are asking all visitors, including our contractors, service and home care providers, as well as your family and other guests, to register their visit by completing a ‘Tell Us About You’ form, available at reception. This form makes it clear that any visitors who are unwell or required to be in self-isolation should not enter the community or your individual residence. It also provides a register to assist health authorities trace people who might have been exposed to COVID-19.  

Your assistance in supporting this voluntary register will help protect the health of you and your neighbours, as well as employees in this community.  

Your wellbeing is paramount and you are encouraged to proactively support your own health and get help if you need it. It is important that we all plan and consider what isolation may mean for you, and what it may mean for your family or visitors. Please be assured, we will do our best to support you during this period and we will keep in regular contact to make sure you are safe and comfortable.  

Stay informed

For the most up to date information and advice on COVID-19 visit the Department of Health’s website:

  • National Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080
  • State or territory health information lines:
  • Victoria: 1300 60 60 24
  • All other states and territories: 1800 022 222

Know how COVID-19 is spread 

The virus can spread from person to person through:  

  • close contact with an infected person (including in the 24 hours before they started showing symptoms)  
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze  
  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face.
  • COVID-19 is a new disease, so there is no existing immunity in our community. This means that COVID-19 could spread widely and quickly.

Know what symptoms to look for:  

Symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. People with Coronavirus may experience:

  • fever  
  • flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue
  • shortness of breath.  

Create a Household Plan of Action  

  • Consider members of your household who may be at greater risk such as people with severe chronic illnesses 
  • Ask your neighbours what their plan includes
  • Create an emergency contact list including family, friends, neighbours and healthcare providers
  • Choose a room in your house that can be used to separate sick household members from others if needed
  • Consider your future plans around travel, attendance at social gatherings and appointments.

Take every day preventative actions

  • Covering your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue
  • Disposing of tissues properly
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitisers at times when you aren’t able to wash your hands  
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in your home  
  • If you are sick, avoiding contact with others
  • Stay more than 1.5 metres away from people
  • Cleaning and sanitising frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys and wallets
  • Consider staying at home and away from crowds if you or a family member have any underlying health issues that may put you at greater risk
  • When you go out in public, keeping away from others who are sick and limiting close contact.  
  • As we have already seen, the situation continues to evolve incredibly quickly so we appreciate your patience as we may need to make further changes to our approach at short notice.  

We thank you for your continued support as we all work through this together.  

Resources

Prefer to talk? Phone us
for a discussion.
We will respond within 48 hours.
Receive answers to frequently asked questions.