This week the Victorian Government eased restrictions in regional areas. Gyms are finally allowed to open, limited numbers are allowed at funerals, weddings, and religious ceremonies, hospitality and retail have seen an increase to their caps, and we can now have two visitors to our homes. These are still imposts on our freedoms in regions where there has been no evidence of COVID for 14 months.
Sadly, our senior Australians in aged care remain closed-off from the world. Under the new guidelines, visitors are still not permitted into aged care and other residential facilities. Many residents feel abandoned. They don’t understand why their families cannot visit. They have a right to feel forgotten.
These measures are hurting our elderly and their families. After almost 18 months of different restrictions and guidelines, people are stressed, and their mental health has been impacted. It saddens and angers me to think of all those who have passed in aged care during the pandemic without the presence and support of their families.
Clearly, the risk associated with an outbreak of COVID-19 in aged care must be managed. However, our age care facilities are acutely aware of safe protocols and are doing an amazing job. In most cases, it’s impossible to get past the front desk without having your temperature checked, scanning a QR code, and answering a series of questions about where you’ve been and any symptoms you might have.
We must all take personal responsibility to ensure the possibility of an outbreak is reduced. Measures must come down to common sense and cooperation. Visitors should be allowed if they comply with strict guidelines. Common sense would dictate that you should not attend an aged care centre with even the mildest of symptoms.
The fact is the Victorian Government doesn’t trust us to use common sense and take responsibility for our own actions. That’s why they continue to rely on heavy handed restrictions that limit our freedoms.
However, we need to bring compassion back into this discussion. We must find a better way to live with and adapt our life, our society and care of loved ones.