Siblings Joseph Moder and Therezie Sochorova.
Siblings Joseph Moder and Therezie Sochorova.

Pensioner: I’ll keep visiting sister in aged care

PENSIONER Joseph Moder has not let the dangers of coronavirus scare him from supporting his crippled older sister.

The 80-year-old North Cairns resident visits Tereszie Sochorova, 86, in a Manoora aged care centre each day and knows too well the danger he faces from COVID-19.

"She has no one else to rely on, I am it," Mr Moder said.

"I keep clean and wash my hands - there's nothing else I can do."

His sister's only living relative, Mr Moder navigates the invisible threat of COVID-19 daily to maintain her health, organising doctor's appointments and tests Ms Sochorova.

"I don't do any other circulating or socialising, it could affect anybody - I have to be extra careful."

Joseph Moder and his sister Tereszie Sochorova in 1990.
Joseph Moder and his sister Tereszie Sochorova in 1990.

Aged care centres yesterday announced new restrictions on visits in line with the Federal Government's new measures to limit the spread of coronavirus. Mr Moder said many residents in the Manoora centre were alone and heartbreakingly, rarely received visits from family.

"A lot are left to their own devices," Mr Moder said.

"The home is very good, they do what they can.

"It is essential to keep support for my sister as she can go downhill very fast.

"She has suffered cognitive and physical damage, she has hallucinations.

"Neither of us foresaw this; we thought we would live out our lives together - fate had other plans."

Bupa Australia has asked relatives of residents to "consider whether their visit is essential and postpone it if possible."

"Minimising the number of visitors is the best way to reduce the risk of infection," a Bupa spokesman said.

"There will be compassionate exceptions for visits to residents, such as for those who are receiving palliative care."

The company has announced reduced visiting hours from 2pm to 5pm and requires visitors to wear masks and gloves which will be provided by the centres.

"Visitors will be greeted on entry by a staff member who will help with putting on the gloves and masks," Bupa COVID-19 advice states. "They will also explain how to safely wear the protection equipment."

Visitors, who will be temperature checked, will be asked to call ahead before arriving.

Residents have been limited to one visitor per day for a maximum of 30 minutes. And further north, the CEO of Kewarra Beach Aged Care, Andrew Meek, said families and residents had supported the preventive measures.

"Most of our residents have complex health issues," Mr Meek said.

"We want to protect them."

He said the centre was reacting to Federal Government advice that "changed daily."

"The local community has been very supportive and that's the same with the families," Mr Meek said. He said some residents were being proactive and producing videos to educate their loved ones.

"They are engaging as well," Mr Meek said.

Residents had the choice of self-isolating if they felt the need.

"At they end of the day it is up to the residents," he said.