In nearly every reach out in our customer care calls to DCMI program Members over the last month there has been deep concern for your resident and team mental health.
With Sydney well into its tenth week of lockdown, Melbourne on lockdown 6.0 and other states never knowing when the short snap lockdowns may occur, we are hearing more and more stories of exhaustion, worry, despair, anxiousness, and so many more feelings coming to a head.
Real COVID impacts
These stories, rightly so, often start with concern for resident mental health as village professionals listen to resident’s sharing:
- The impact of lockdown on their own physical health
- The inability to connect with others
- Unsure of when they may see family and friends
- Missing important milestones
- Challenges of speaking & listening through a mask
- Not being able to give or receive family support
- Missing that personal touch; and
- In some cases the ability to attend or continue with medical treatments/reviews
You have shared with us the obvious and visible signs these impacts are having on resident mental health.
How COVID can impact you
On top of these concerns, you are juggling the added worries about COVID coming into your village, keeping up with the ever-changing restrictions, implementing new legislative requirements whilst managing COVID and trying to have a plan to address the increasing non-essential maintenance that has had to be delayed.
We have seen increased feelings of isolation, managing constantly changing and differing resident expectations, and of course your concern for residents declining during this time.
Your oxygen mask
Hearing these stories reminded us of all of the great support tools that are out there to help support your residents, your teams and so very importantly yourselves.
You will know the old saying “you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help others” in my experience it is so true.
There are some great resources out there to help in these times and here are a couple that come to mind:
Perhaps check out the great advice and tools available at Beyond Blue specifically the webinar below developed for Retirement Village residents and teams, which we had some input.
There are also a number of great tips from The Black Dog Institute in dealing with the impact of COVID on mental health in this article –
10 tips for managing anxiety during COVID-19 – Black Dog Institute
Or perhaps schedule sometime to grab a cuppa and reach out to a colleague (even if you have to do it on zoom). Chances are you are both feeling the same way and sometimes a problem shared is also a problem halved…
We are thinking of you.