COVID-19: community living – how we can help #FlattenTheCurve
With one in 10 Australians living in high-rise apartments, it is more important than ever to support each other to fight the spread of COVID-19. As a community, we can reduce infection rates by following physical distancing rules without disconnecting from each other. Right across Australia, it is critical we all do our part to #FlattenTheCurve.
While we’re not healthcare experts at PICA Group, we are, however, specialists in enhancing community living. So, we have put our best and most experienced professionals together to come up with some practical tips to help you:
- Deliver on your social responsibility and minimise the spread
- Reduce feelings of isolation for both yourself and those within your community
- Manage your property during COVID-19 and be a supportive neighbour
First things first, protect yourself and others
Social distancing is outlined as one of the key preventative measures to slowing or controlling the outbreak of COVID-19. We need to follow these physical distancing measures because the virus is spread via airborne droplets and aerosols from coughing, sneezing, exhaling and talking.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows that coronaviruses can travel between two to eight meters when someone sneezes. What’s more, they can stay alive on common property objects such as handrails and lift elevator buttons, and less obvious things like eftpos machines, cash, credit cards, mobile phones and keys.
Wash hands regularly
This is the next big step to helping protect yourself and others, particularly when you are coming and going from common property areas.
Use soap and water or alcohol-based rub to help kill the viruses that might be present. Our hands pick up all kinds of germs, so be mindful of where you put them. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth because once your hands are contaminated, these are pathways for the virus to enter your body and make you sick.
When you can, stay at home
Try and limit the amount of exposure you have to the virus by staying at home where possible. This includes common areas like entertainment spaces, swimming pools and gyms or walking somewhere rather than getting public transport. We must be particularly mindful of what our actions could mean for ourselves and others.
If you live in community living, what does self-isolation look like?
Self-isolation means staying at home and not going to public or shared places.
Likewise, you shouldn’t be going to supermarkets or shops if you need goods. Rather, you should be asking a family member or friend to drop groceries at your front door. Services like Woolworths and Coles has options to help manage COVID-19 by dropping off groceries at your front door or lobby.
Create a family, friend or community “buddy system” to help provide support
In order to help fight the spread, there is now a range of not only physical distancing regulations but self-quarantine rules in place too. While these steps are critical, we can undertake them in a way that doesn’t create social disconnection. Many people are lucky enough to have support networks, like partners, families and friends to check on them. But not everyone is in the same boat.
We can use technology and kind gestures that are practical and safe to stay connected. Whether it’s email, FaceTime, Facebook, Skype, Zoom, LinkedIn, Instagram or other social media tools, there are lots of ways we can connect while remaining physically distant.
Conversations and regular interactions help reduce stress and anxiety and allow people to cope with what’s going on around them. While services such as Nextdoor make it easy to communicate with your neighbours and neighbourhood. If you are able, it is worth using technology, the noticeboard within your common property, or putting a note under doors, to let people know you are willing and able to help.
Sometimes, something as simple as a phone conversation, offering to get groceries, or medication, can make the world of difference during tough times. Particularly to those who are more vulnerable. If you know of elderly or vulnerable people within your building or property, use a safe way to reach out to them and check if they are okay.
Maintaining good mental health is key
Understand how COVID-19 can impact both your mental health and the mental health of those around you. It’s important with community living to remember that people respond to stressful situations in different ways. So, be empathetic and understand that COVID-19 could be introducing people to health and financial stress as well as the loss of a loved one.
Don’t forget to ask for help when you need it! There are lots of services out there to help through stressful times, so make sure you use them or recommend them to people who are in need.
Remain active. Physical activity, keeping routine, and making time for things you like is important to remaining resilient and strong. Read more about staying mentally healthy during COVID-19 in our article about managing mental health and COVID-19.
Minimise non-essential renovations, minor works, and property activity
With non-essential activity regulations intensifying in the attempt to stop the spread, construction and renovation works may come to a holt and supplies may be harder to come by as COVID-19 spreads. Given the extenuating circumstances, it is worth initiating a discussion with your committee and strata manager about the path forward and what to expect.
And with more and more people working from home or self-quarantining, individuals should remain considerate of noise levels. Stick to your by-laws and building rules and be considerate of others.
Your apartment or property will also have to be protected with stricter hygiene controls. There may be additional costs associated with this.
The impacts of COVID-19 are far-reaching, changing the way we work and live. Nevertheless, if we follow the guidelines and regulations put forward by governments to #FlattenTheCurve we can reduce its impact. Likewise, if we make a concerted effort to look after those who are in our buildings and properties, we can make community living a better, happier, and more connected experience when it matters most.
Note: we are not in the position to provide health advice and we encourage you to keep up-to-date with guidance provided by the Australian Government on their website, visit here.