Coronavirus: How to connect with elderly population

coronavirus 20/03/2020

Sean Plunket spoke to Dr Frances Hughes about the social distancing and self isolation measures of Covid-19 and how they are affecting the elderly.

Dr Hughes currently works with Oceania Health Care, and explains one of the biggest issues right now is the care of the elderly and how to keep them safe.


She says, 'The elderly are at risk because of social isolation, loneliness."

Dr Hughes explains that New Zealand needs to ensure we have clear systems and processes to keep people connected, so everyone can understand what is going on.

As hysteria spreads on social media, Dr Hughes encourages individuals to go to the primary source of information;

We’ve got to reduce the connectivity of multiple sources

Stating that we have a really responsible government, Dr Frances announces "this is a time for clear leadership."

“All of us have to have a clear understanding, we will get through this,” Dr Frances explains.

We really need to look after our vulnerable population.

To help the eldery, she suggests creativity, using social media to connect by Skyping others, reaching out to neighbours with letters or talking to them.

Sean asks whether there has been any discussion with government help, if nurses that are helping the elderly, would instead jump into the front line.


We have done a lot of contingency planning.


Dr Frances reiterated “there is no need to panic, we are going to look after each other” and that the most vulnerable are the ones who need special attention.

Her advice to all is to “just calm down…do normal things that bring you back into normal reality.”

She suggests talking about normal topics, and to “start sharing all the positive, rather than the negative.”

Listen to the interview above.