Jun 22, 2021

“He has aged 10 years”: Daughter shares devastation over toll of Melbourne’s lockdowns

Lonely old man's hands

Gillian told radio station 3AW her father, Doug, was “very healthy” when he moved into residential aged care two years ago.

Doug – father of six, grandfather of 14, great grandfather of 22, and great-great grandfather of three – is very much loved by his family, most of whom are vaccinated against COVID-19, at least with the first dose.

But during the past year’s lockdowns in Melbourne, Gillian noticed Doug’s condition deteriorated significantly.

“Since COVID-19, he’s gone down a lot,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell

“I understand that. Unfortunately, last year we did lose so many, but this year is totally different,” she said.

Gillian said the family managed to take Doug out earlier in the year, and he got back to “about 70 or 75% of what he was like before COVID, where he could walk with us and had some energy back.”

The concerned daughter added, “They don’t do any exercise or anything in the homes.”

But following the recent COVID outbreak, the latest lockdowns in Melbourne have caused Doug’s health to deteriorate further. 

“He’s now gone downhill again because our lovely government is saying no visits unless it’s end-of-life.”

With the home again restricting visitors, Doug’s condition is declining again.

“It’s not the home, they’re going by the government. The government is telling them they can’t let visitors in and people can’t go out, even for exercise.”

According to the Victorian Department of Health website, two visitors are allowed into aged care homes at a time.

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  1. One of my neighbours lost both his parents to COVID during 2020. Both were in a Care Home. Very unfortunate.
    These days, many Homes, and many residents privately, have mobile phones and videophones so they can have virtual visitors, via Skype or Zoom, as often as they like.
    Do we have any statistics on how often Care Home residents are doing video calling, to be with family? I suspect that on average, it would be no more than a few minutes per week?

  2. Only visitors allowed are for “end of life” residents.
    My husband has Lewy Body Dementia and only says a few words on the phone. He must think I don’t want to see him anymore!!

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