At 105 years of age, South Australian Jean Linehan has experienced a lot, and says she knows all about resilience during times of crisis.

The Resthaven Bellevue Heights resident was born during the First World War in February 1915 and has lived through other global crises, including the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the Great Depression and several wars.

In regards to the current coronavirus pandemic, Mrs Linehan’s first piece of advice is to avoid panic.

“It’s worse for everybody if people panic.

Jean Linehan, aged 103

“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,” Ms Linehan said.

“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.”

Mrs Linehan was out of work for six months and said she would have been glad to do anything to earn an 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?” said Mrs Linehan.

Resthaven CEO Richard Hearn said it vitally was important to remember that older people were extremely vulnerable to viral infections such as COVID-19 and influenza.

He called on everyone to follow the mandatory government guidelines regarding visiting residential aged care homes announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 18 March (read more here).

“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.

These restrictions include a ban on anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated against the flu from entering an aged care home from 1 May.

“All Resthaven staff and volunteers are also offered a free influenza vaccination every year,” Mr Hearn said.

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

Comment below to have your say on this story. Subscribe to Australian Ageing Agenda magazine and sign up to the AAA newsletter

Join the Conversation


  1. The elderly have a wealth of knowledge. Look what they lived thru and survived ,without counselling and anti depressants Good people who know what it is like to go hungry. What got them thru was their decency and kindness to fellow man These are the ones who made AU the great country it is today. I have forgotten more than many will ever know Thank you Jean June

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.