"Just calm down," says Jean, 105

on the Monday, March 23, 2020

Jean Linehan of Resthaven Bellevue Heights, aged 105, knows all about resilience during times of crisis.

Born during the first world war in February 1915, Jean, along with thousands of older Australians, has lived through other global crises, including the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression, several wars, epidemics such as SARS, swine and bird flu.

They have come out the other side of all these things, and survived them all.

So, what does Jean think of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic?

"Don’t panic," is her first piece of advice; "It’s worse for everybody if people panic."

"Just go along smoothly and wait for what each day brings."

"I know the people in charge know what they’re doing, I suppose they know the best. But look, everyone needs to just calm down."

"I have lived through different flu epidemics, and the Depression, where we couldn’t afford to buy food."

"I remember mother buying six pennyworth of meat pieces; she’d make a pie with it to make it go further."

"I remember working in a big car factory, and of course people stopped buying cars so the whole factory closed down. I was out of work for six months – I would have been glad to do anything just to get some income."

"But even then, we didn’t panic."

"It’s all getting beyond comprehension. I mean, all this hoarding, it’s ridiculous, isn’t it?"

When asked if she is worried herself about contracting COVID-19, Jean says, "No, I’ve never even caught the flu. I’ve been very lucky."

"Anyway, at my age, something’s going to take me off, it may as well be something famous like this!"

Jean may be confident in her own health, but it vitally important to remember that older people are extremely vulnerable to viral infections such as COVID-19 and influenza.

That’s why it is so important that people follow the mandatory government guidelines regarding visiting residential aged care homes, as announced by Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, on 18 March, 2020. 

CEO, Richard Hearn, says, "All Resthaven residential aged care homes have implemented these restrictions, to safeguard the health of older people – like Jean – who have invited Resthaven to support them in their individual circumstance."

"All Resthaven staff and volunteers are also offered a free influenza vaccination every year."

"Stay safe, wash your hands, and, most importantly, look after each other."

Find out more about Resthaven.