It takes a village to provide support in Covid lockdowns
Covid lockdowns can be confusing and isolating if you live alone but at Aura Holdings our retirement living residents told us they felt well supported, informed and safe.
“In this ongoing pandemic, the health and wellbeing of all our residents is our priority,’’ says Mark Taylor, director of Aura Holdings. “During lockdowns our residents never feel alone. Village managers and other staff ensure residents’ immediate needs are met and that they have regular communications and welfare checks while isolating within their apartment.’’
Nearly one in four older Australians live alone, according to the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics Census. In an Aura Holdings’ community residents live independently but always have others in their community for support if desired.
Across Aura’s communities in southeast Queensland, the residents and staff responded to the recent Covid lockdown with creative and entertaining ways to stay socially connected.
Edwina Simpson, a resident of The Avenue Maroochydore, says she felt well supported by village manager Mandy Julian and the other staff during the August 2021 lockdown. “I didn’t feel alone at all. Mandy really looked after us well,’’ Edwina says.
“If I was living in a house at this time I am sure I’d be feeling totally isolated. Here I can safely exercise by walking around our village’s beautiful courtyard in the sun. I stroll around the vegetable garden where I am able to stop and pick some fresh snow peas.
“The other residents call out from the safe distance from their balconies and we have a chat. I have a ground floor apartment so I am able to communicate with others from a safe distance when in lockdown. I feel happy and well supported here.’’
Edwina orders her groceries online and any pharmacy items are also delivered. “It’s so simple with everything coming to my door. They ring the security buzzer at the entrance, I can let them in and they bring it in to me,’’ she says.
Kimberley Richards is the primary carer for her mother Jan and they live together at The Avenue. Kimberley says they both felt supported during the recent lockdown.
“There are people around us all the time but we can still socially distance while feeling connected,’’ Kimberley says. “I felt safe in lockdown and content that Mum was well looked after too. It was comforting to realise how well supported we are by Mandy, Ian and Karol. If we received deliveries they would take them for us and our communal areas were always being cleaned.
“Mum spent 18 months in aged care in high care after suffering a stroke. But when Covid first hit in 2020 I decided to take Mum out and she lived with me. I was working from home and could spend more time on her therapy and she started to improve.
“But where we were living there were two flights of stairs so I decided to look for a better option that would be more manageable for Mum and enable her to be involved in a community of people and able to participate in activities. The Avenue came highly recommended to me by a friend in the industry. I didn’t realise I could live here with Mum as her carer. I am so grateful for the option for us at The Avenue. We have only recently moved in but I have already seen positive changes in Mum. She is really happy here and ready to make friends and get involved.
“It is wonderful to be part of a community and see familiar faces. Everyone is so friendly and has made us feel very welcome and supported. You can be involved as much as you like.’’
Mark says during Covid lockdowns having other people around has been a major advantage of living in a village community. “There are like-minded and supportive people close by. Every day we witness the care and support our residents display for their neighbours,’’ he says.
“Our residents continue to receive high quality in-home care provided by our support partners, Five Good Friends. As an essential service during lockdowns, Five Good Friends staff continue to provide care and support to any residents who need nursing care, domestic tasks, shopping or transport to medical appointments.
“Living independently is the goal of all our residents and often they require only a bit of support to achieve that, particularly in times of lockdown.’’