COVID-19 pandemic may have a silver lining for older Australians

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Amid the fear and panic caused by the current coronavirus pandemic, it may be impossible to think of any silver lining in relation to COVID-19. But the old adage ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ could lead to a silver lining for retirees in the midst of this crisis.

Enforced isolation may encourage older generations to adopt online tools and modern methods of communication, co-founder and director of aged care support provider Aged Care Steps, Assyat David told Professional Planner.

Many older people who were reluctant to embrace technology may no longer have any choice, if they want to stay connected to friends and family and even health professionals and financial advisers in the days of self-isolation and social distancing.

“There will be a silver lining and a legacy as [more] older people learn how to use online tools,” said Ms David.

The other silver lining, says Ms David, is that the pandemic could kickstart people to plan ahead more thoroughly for future crises.

“We’ve had the bushfire crisis, water restrictions and now this, so perhaps in the future people will think more about what it means for mum and dad when there is a crisis and how you can prepare if people are isolated,” she explains.

And, as the crisis is estimated to be with us indefinitely, mental health and loneliness also needs to be better addressed, says Ms David.

“The whole isolation issue is starting to pick up, it’s only been a couple of weeks but if it stretches to months the outcomes of being stranded as an elderly person will become important,” she said.

Financial adviser Richard Jackson says the older generation isn’t afraid to use technology.

“People in the 70s and 80s are pretty comfortable with email already, they’re on the internet more than you might think,” he says.

Still, Mr Jackson, who specialises in retiree and aged care clients, is encouraged by the number of older people adapting to the use of online tools.

“I’ve already started doing that with a few people and they seem quite happy with the outcome,” he says.

He agrees, however, that the current crisis could spur the older generation on to try more tools and applications than they might have previously been comfortable with.

“It’s a more of an incremental thing, they like to take things step by step,” he says.

“But any development would be a good outcome.”

What other silver linings from the pandemic do you foresee?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

94 Comments

Total Comments: 94
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    I see the silver lining but also the reverse, a lot more oldies become suckers to all kinds of rip-off schemes. By all means teach oldies the new technologies but make sure they understand the darker side. According to authorities a lot of money is lost every year by us oldies; I suppose the younger ones are OK as they have not that much to lose as yet.

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      Yes the scammers are out there but it is wise to never click on anything you haven’t known was coming, sounds pretty simple, and it’s not always, but banks don’t send stuff out to you to give back information, they don’t, most reputable business’ don’t but the scammers can make sites look really authentic! So trust nothing only go where you need and know.

      The silver lining I think will come in the massive return to normal and people will be busy like they’ve never been.
      Another silver lining will be we now know that this can happen and we know the lockdown should have begun earlier, but that whole beginning of COVID19 was an unknown.

      Another silver lining is that maybe the old fashioned killers like influenza may be lessoned way down in number, as hygiene is learnt by more and more and people can understand how easy it is to pass anything, how many times you walk into a public toilet and people don’t wash their hands at all. It is bloody disgusting and now bloody frightening.

      Sanitising liquid is only a back up, ONLY SOAP AND WATER USED VIGOROUSLY, IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE, SO THOROUGHLY CLEAN WITH SANITISER IF YOU ARE OUT, BUT DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE, AND WHEN YOU GET HOME WASH YOUR HANDS HARD WITH SOAP AND WATER.

      Wipe down goods that you have delivered or you bring in to your house wipe down benches etc, we will probably have to keep this sort of stuff up, for a while even after the danger is slowing but they’re all good habits, slow down and do the job, this is good for everyone not just elderly or infirm , so do the job. Don’t be afraid to say “move further away please”!

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    There are many more “silver linings”.
    It is now obvious that we have been sold a pup, as ther medical capacity situation in our hospitals and facilities is well below the standards that we can afford.
    It is clear to us now which private organisations really care about their customers, and are good corporate citizens, or NOT.
    It is apparent to anyone looking that our current Federal and some state governments have their eye on the future in terms of their political survival, not your actual survival.
    You now know the level to which the lowlife and the fools will sink to in times of hardship.
    You might know now, or at least will soon, who your real friends and good people are. Who the performers and the dullards are. Which shops you can depend on. How to vote next time we get a chance.

    We also know that so many of the population care very little about anyone else, and show much toilet paper we need.

    It takes hard times to reveal the facts.

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      Janus , look on the positive, it’ll be fine you’ll be fine, the government does what it has to, it was late locking down the country, but we are not like some and worse than others, like Taiwan is better than us, but Italy is in a dreadful situation as is Spain.
      We know that humans make mistakes and miss things, and we know humans make up the government, and health funds etc will have no choice but to come to the party, its all gone too far now, we have to stop criticising and work together to look after ourselves.

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      I fear for the people who are regarded as the lowest priority, IF we don’t fully lock down and the curve continues on its exponential rise then medical staff will be in this terrible dilemma.

      Think about it: What if the ICU care wards are all full, but more people roll through the door? Put them in the corridor? Turn them away? Kick out the old to make way for those young? Kick out the poor to make way for those with private health insurance?

      Unfortunately, those brave medical staff on the frontline of this war, are the very same ones who will be forced to make the decision about who gets treated and who doesn’t. Who rings the nursing home and declares “Sorry, there’s no room left at the hospital, so stop sending these old people who are near the end of their lives, anyway. Let them die where they are.” How else could hospitals continue to function effectively?

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      I read the first 5 pages of that, Incog. and while I’m sure the American author is genuine, I can’t help feeling that every time someone with an intelligent opinion says there is some good news, the very people who should be exercising restraint read that advice as “I can go back to normal now – it’s not as bad as the media are making out.” They are just hanging for an excuse to go back to normal – back to the pub, back to the club, get on the pokies and look for sex. Unfortunately, these people, predominantly young (but not all, by any stretch), male (only some, and some but fewer females) and self-centred types by nature (hello), ignorant of the reality of COVID-19 – THESE PEOPLE ARE SPREADING COVID WHETHER THEY KNOW IT OR NOT. Whether they care or not.

      I think the only fake? news worth its salt in this crisis, would be to tell everyone that COVID is in your city, it’s in your town, at your workplace, in your pub and club, dropping in on you at your local surf break, in your hospital, in your supermarket, in your nursing home, jogging through the park and quite possibly in your own home. This might be the only way to stop the self-centred from flouting the rules and spreading the virus.

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      I’d like to add that the article brought up the reality of so many people dying of the flu every year, anyway. This goes to the truth that flu jabs are as useful as any placebo. That said, placebos are quite effective – I’m sure it’s why homeopathy has the good results it gets (but I can hear the shrieking from here, with you all howling that homeopathy is unscientific). Let’s just say that science only measures what it can. Regardless, placebos are quite effective and that IS scientific.

      It’s reasonable to say that globally, COVID will kill more than the annual flu, but maybe not too many more AND they’ll be the same candidates for both. But how will we know? when hospitals routinely say (on a Death Certificate) that a patient has died of kidney failure when that kidney failure was due to the patient succumbing to an untreatable staph infection? I’m very sure that not so many people will die of flu this year because they’ve already died from COVID.

      I’m not one for conspiracy theories but there are some very worrying trends going on. I have two friends who were forced to return home from a surfing trip in Indonesia. They are still in isolation but neither of them were tested. They saw people dying in the streets in the big cities. She is a nurse in Aged Care, so of course can’t work until the quarantine period is over. But she’s spoken to her work colleagues and been told they don’t have enough protective gear for the front line staff. Can this be real in a country like Australia?

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      While there in SE Asia, these friends listened to local news services, which reported the real situation in China is nothing like what’s reported in our media. It said there were many times more people dying in China than what was being reported here.

      It’s not surprising but it isn’t good news.

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      Yes HooHoo it is hard to distinguish real news and fake news but I am trying to weigh it all up with other perspectives, I do realize it is still dangerous but I worry about the testing and the data may not be right either worse or better.
      I am a believer of homeopathy and have had great success with it, you need to know how to use it correctly or see a consultant. There are remedies for prevention of flu too. I have previously told the story of a dog I owned that had tick fever and lost the use of her back legs after dose of homeopathy over night she was running around the next day and back to normal. India’s prime minister and their health department has officially recommended homeopathy and natural remedies to everyone. But when I posted that article about how they have a lot less cases for the amount of population someone quickly said they are not reporting their deaths and cases correctly.
      Yes we certainly need more protection for those on the front line, kind of like sending soldiers to war without tanks and guns.

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      Like lambs to the slaughter – it’s so unfair to these selfless, hard-working and underpaid people.

      I think homeopathy is a great therapy, too, being gentle and effective. The best thing is that it doesn’t assault the patient with harsh chemicals when their body is already under stress. Think chemotherapy…yowch! I would never tell someone not to do it, but I’ve seen so many loved ones die from cancer, after years of this grueling treatment, I am of the opinion if the cancer is THAT bad, I’d rather try alternative treatments and take my chances. And who knows, I might remain strong enough to overcome it? If not, then at least I could go out with some peace, at home, and with dignity. Morphine is the only drug I’d be happy to accept on my way out.

      I too had a dear little moggie who was saved by homeopathy, after being diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. She was 16, spewing and pooing a green, mucus substance (sorry). She couldn’t keep down water or food, or the vet’s medicine and she was going to dehydrate and starve to death very soon if I didn’t try something else very quickly. After treating her with homeopathic drops and putting her on a fresh food diet, she was still running around like a kitten for another 20 months and died at 18, of old age, in my arms.
      Yes, unbelievers, I brainwashed that cat into believing homeopathy was real medicine and fortunately, she understood English perfectly! In truth, I DID tell her the medicine would make her well, to stop her struggling as I administered the drops. After a short while she accepted the drops quite happily. Cats are smart, especially this one.

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      Yes it is incredible how well animals respond to homeopathy, when you see it with your own eyes you know it cannot be placebo as they like to call it. Reading the history of homeopathy is interesting how it used to be one of the main types of treatments and still is in many countries, even the Queen uses it and how well is she.

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      With my puddy, I was told to use rescue remedy when she was close to death, like a gentle euthanasia, to help her “shift” over. At about 3am the morning she died, she yowled out very loudly three times (she was deaf by this time), as if to tell me “I’m ready to die”. I quickly woke up my partner so he could be there, and like me before him, he cradled his arms around her and the pillow she was resting on, with his chin behind her head so she could feel the vibration of his voice. And then she did exactly the same thing to him as she did to me, she lifted her head right back and yowled out loudly three times, into his face. And then she calmed down.

      I stayed with her all night and the next morning gave her a dose of rescue remedy, then again 4 hours later and she died by lunch time. We can learn a lot from animals. She died calmly, peacefully and naturally. I hope I can do the same when the time comes.

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      Hoohoo, that is a lovely story.

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    Oh – I see – get we oldies to join the youngsters who spend more on their phones than they do on food.

    Actually I thought it might have been that maybe we should have been taking similar precautions anyway to avoid the death toll that seasonal flu brings on us every year, which may be less, but it’s still quite substantial. And review the extent to which flu jabs actually work.

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    Most elderly people have underlying medical conditions and the virus is a death sentence, and it is unaceptable that people arriving by planes and cruise ships were not checked as they were in other countries. Now we all have to pay the price for our government ‘s inaction when it was needed.

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      I totally agree Mike, entries into Australia should have been much better scrutinised and supervised. I also see the Chinese in a different light now. That which caused the virus has to be stopped. I call it the ‘Wuhan Wog’

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      Yes I have been saying this on Facebook from the day the government said go home and self-isolate if you have arrived from overseas, in the meantime they have bumped into a multitude of people at the airport, on public transport, or infected potentially a taxi driver who then passes it onto how many people, the government is making it up as they go, no real leadership at all.
      it costs money to enforced self-isolation from the moment the plan lands somebody has to securely move the people and the libs are only interested in keeping the rich.

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      QLD have closed their border to NSW, BUT NOT THE OTHER WAY! So we have Gold Coast surfers doing day trips to Byron, Lennox Head and Ballina (where there is less infection than in SE QLD) and then they’re allowed to meander back home to QLD, willy nilly!

      Again, stupid mixed messages! It’s OK if QLD spreads it to us but it’s not OK (or likely) the other way round. And you should see them, shaking hands (because they are ignorant and they’re tough and they think this is what real men should do). Of course, they are healthy and if they catch it they believe it’s no big drama to them. They’ve never learnt to think or consider others less fortunate than themselves.

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      Which is why we should be isolating those who are vunerable and with pre-existing conditions and not the whole country. We could spend more money caring for elderly and support them more.

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      I agree in theory Incognito, but it should’ve happened months ago. That rabid cat is well and truly out of the bag.

      And how could it REALLY work, practically? The staff also be isolated? Their children also be isolated? Who is going to care for their children? Sending them to school is not a solution – in fact, it’s ridiculous!

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      Yes, Mike, letting those people loose was a monumental cock-up!

      And almost as worrying, we had the federal Liberal govt blaming the State Liberal govt for it, leaving everyone thinking we have no confidence in any of these clowns. Right at the time we are looking at our leaders for some sort of stability. I keep on remembering what happened in the novel “The Day Of The Triffids”, which was utter chaos and anarchy – survival of the most violent.

      If we ever needed strong and sensible leadership, it is now.

  5. 0
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    You can lead a horse to water- You cannot make them drink.

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    Silver lining! I was hoping it was going to be about how we can build a better cleaner world, to see how Venice now has clean water and fish have returned shows how much damage tourists are doing, need to limit visitors in one area at a time so everyone who does spend that much money to go can actually enjoy it when they get there and not fight through hoards of people. Also the environment is loving it, less CO2 emissions is good for the planet.
    I know my mum still does not want to embrace technology, telcos of course are hoping that older people will jump on their money making schemes. Have not heard a peep out of them except I got a bonus from Amaysim extra 10 gb, yet my sister on the same plan got 60gb, anyone else get any bonus data?

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      Yep. Vodaphone.

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      Oh yeah forgot, I got 5 gb extra on my mobile broadband with vodafone.

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      You’re right, Incognito. All those grounded jets and moored cruise liners (flying and floating fuel-guzzling petri dishes, IMHO), are reducing our emissions so Scumbo may be right, we’ll meet our emissions in a canter AND we mightn’t even need to use our Kyoto school certificate results to help matriculate for our Paris HSC.

  7. 0
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    As an 81yoa oldie I lack the technological skills to be able to benefit from todays advanced methods of communication. Nor do I have anyone to teach me. Where do I go from here?

    • 0
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      There are lots of little tech lessons, [free] on the internet.

    • 0
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      Pete you seem to be doing well as you are here now.
      Look at youtube, it is free, search for ‘r/prorevenge’ or ‘r/entitledparents’ or ‘r/malicious compliance’. You will have an infinite time of fun.
      Also if you don’t find these funny just browse around and there are limitless other interesting items.
      If you are interested in history, google search for ‘the diary of Samuel Pepys’. Each day it will show you the diary he wrote for the same day back in 1666 with comments by readers, to which you can contribute if you wish.
      Look at APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) which shows a view of the night sky with an explanation of the sight.
      Best wishes for lots of interesting times.

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      And yet here you are Pete. Using technology for advanced methods of communication.

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      KSS you talk of items of food on the selves and people who can use their communication devices. You must live in the city. I was amazed at how many people don’t have the internet and life is a week to week subsistence.
      This time may be nice or the 40 years olds on a guaranteed income. Its very tough times ahead for so many many people.
      I did hear a drought stricken farmer won $80 million in a power ball lottery. Now that is a golden lining!

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      Pity the farmer who won the money can’t go out and spend it, only buy shares while the prices are down.
      What about the remote farmers who usually buy in bulk and cannot because the supermarkets won’t allow and they drive up to 8 hours to do their shopping?

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      I have had two Zoom online meetings this week (one with my choir and one with school friends) plus a wine party with friends on Facebook Messenger video.

      The choir was not successful from the singing point of view but many of the older participants who are in self-isolation were SO stoked to see and hear friendly faces. It was wonderful, so we ended up mainly chatting. The “host” had the ability to mute people so he could be heard.

      But the Zoom with old school friends this afternoon (we have a private Facebook page, unrelated to Zoom) ,was better because we didn’t use the mute and luckily we are polite, so people didn’t talk over each other. The idea is you put your hand up if you wish to speak, then others keep quiet until there’s a gap. The Zoom App is free to join, as is Facebook Messenger video.

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      if you are tapping away on here Pete then you are already well on your way. Visit beconnected.esafety.gov.au

  8. 0
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    I would love a silver lining that reduced the government reverse mortgage Scheme interest rate to 0.75% to 2.5%. Then I would seriously consider taking it on !!

  9. 0
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    I have, (according to my doctor) a serious lung complaint and was due to go in for surgery, until the coronavirus. Now that is all off, yes a silverlining alright.

    • 0
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      Clearly you have been assessed as being able to wait a bit longer. There are obviously people worse off than you right now who will still be treated.

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      KSS. In case you havn’t noticed anyone over retirement age is always bumped down the list in favour of younger people regardless of their condition!

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      Hang in there Casey. Do everything to keep those lungs as healthy as possible. Were you given breathing exercises to strengthen the lungs and improve air intake.

      Apart from staying away from literally everyone make sure your house is very clean without using toxic chemicals. Clear surfaces and put away all ornaments that gather dust. Keep your windows open as much as possible and make sure the windows are clean as well.

      Wash all you bedding (including top covers) frequently.

      Viruses cling to surfaces so its important for you to keep healthy.
      Also – eat as healthily as you can so your immune system is strong.

      Shop with gloves and mask from now on. ( Sorry for sounding motherly) Thinking of you. 🙂

    • 0
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      Thankyou for that Rosret

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      You were “bumped” to Preserve Precious Resources, as there is not enough PPE or Medical equipment or One Time Use Medical Supplies available.

    • 0
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      Starting to sound like me Rosret always telling people to get rid of chemicals in the home and eat healthy. I am also suggesting people take Vitamin c, d and zinc all which boost your immunity, should do this every autumn/winter or all year if you are not getting enough of those nutrients.

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      Take proper care, casey. And please instruct all your friends and family to stay away if they don’t know the rules that will keep you safe.

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      My sister teaches a therapy called “The James Method”, which involves breathing exercises, massage and posture training, among other things. It is designed for asthmatics and people with respiratory problems. She has treated children with asthma, disabled children in wheelchairs, elite athletes, adults and seniors, with wonderful results, including many clients coming off puffer medication for life.

      It’s a 14-day course designed to break old habits of breathing, standing and sitting, while receiving therapies to help open up the chest cavity.

    • 0
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      That is interesting Hoohoo not heard of that method but did recently read up on the Alexander Technique, who was suppressed by the medical industry for years, he fronted up at the board and they told him to go away even though he could prove he had 100s of success cases.

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      How often do you hear this, hey? A successful, helpful treatment that’s scuppered. And why? because pharmaceutical companies can’t get a piece of the action!

      My sister was taught the James Method by Dr James daughter, Nina, who is now 98 years old and regularly dances, paints, flirts and drums with her nursing home friends in Byron Bay. She is incredibly vital and amazing!
      When my sister tried to set up trials at her local Illawarra hospital, it was initially considered but never went ahead because they put so much red tape and protocols in the way, but the truth of it was they weren’t prepared to spend money on trials such as this, when there were many other (drug) trials to do, backed up by Big Pharma money.

      As with so many things these days, follow the money if you want to discover the truth.

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      I agree HooHoo, I have been doing that for years but I get told that I do not know anything because I am not a scientist etc. Such a lovely story about Nina, did you hear about the 102 year old in Italy that got coronavirus and recovered? We should be celebrating that there are many elderly people who are healthy to the end. My dad was apart from his dementia sadly that shut everything down, he still looked healthy until the day he died.

  10. 0
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    I received a memo from my Super Company saying that there is a possibility that minimum payment % might drop. It means that if that is the Govt’s decision I may have to request a higher payment.

    • 0
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      You will not be forced to withdraw a smaller amount, just you won’t HAVE to withdraw the current minimum amount for your age. You would be able to continue as you are if you choose.

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