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The reality of Omicron

We have heard from many of you over the break your experiences of interrupted breaks, long hours whilst you support an increase in COVID positive residents within your communities and the struggle to keep up with rapidly changing restrictions.

Some of you have been seconded into other parts of your organisations to provide much needed assistance, and many of you expressed feeling exhausted and burnt out riding the Omicron wave.

One of the common queries has been how to navigate the expectations of residents and the divide the Omicron variant is creating within your communities.

Many of you sharing where residents are not adhering or have a differing view of the current restriction requirements, or want to challenge your every communication or action, even if it has been undertaken with good intent for the whole community.

Another big challenge has been where residents are divided in their view of the seriousness or impact of the Omicron variant on the population within your retirement communities. I.e. half are wanting a cautious approach to visitors and events within the village and the others are wanting these activities to go on as normal.

I acknowledge it is a battlefield that is causing much burnout and exhaustion amongst many of you.

Omicron Village Manager checklist

In terms of coping with this and keeping an even keel during these times I thought I would offer the following considerations when dealing with these challenging situations:

  • ensure you have a good understanding of the village requirements and your organisations position on the current restriction guidelines; there are going to be many opinions/interpretations of the restrictions amongst residents
  • It is a good idea to seek legal advice as an organisation if you are considering guidelines over and above the restriction guidelines
  • It is OK to reinforce to residents challenging your actions or information that you are acting with the best knowledge and information you have at the time
  • It is also OK to remind resident that you are acting with good intent on behalf of all of the residents and explain whilst some would want full lockdown of everything, and at the other end they would like everything open, your role is to ensure the village operates within the restriction and your organisation’s guidelines
  • It is a good idea to detach any personal bias of what residents should or shouldn’t be doing (many of us are being more cautious than our residents)
  • Remember your role is to ensure that the village is operating in accordance with the restrictions and your COVID plans, primarily informing and influencing residents to accept the restriction requirements
  • If you have serious non-compliance or breach issues seek legal advice

Above all, know that you are not alone dealing with these issues and that your peers in the village down the road, in the next suburb and next state are dealing with the same issues. 

Perhaps if you can arrange a coffee/in person or virtually with a couple of Village professionals in your team or suburb to share strategies and coping mechanisms through this particularly isolating time.

Importantly, please remember you continue to play a vital and outstanding role keeping large, sometimes very vulnerable, retirement communities safe and informed. 

Thank you for your continued effort, especially on those days where you are not sure you can face it again.

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