Supporting senior Australians during the coronavirus pandemic
The latest news on the Australian Government-funded services to support senior Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Supporting senior Australians during the coronavirus pandemic
Older people are at greater risk of more serious illness if they get coronavirus. As we move towards a COVIDSafe Australia, it is important for people at greater risk to take extra steps to protect themselves.
You should continue to maintain 1.5 metres distance from people you do not live with and practise good hygiene. These are the best defences for you and your family against coronavirus. If you do need to go out, you should consider downloading the COVIDSafe app if you have smart device.
There are support services you can access if you would like to continue to stay at home to protect yourself.
You can arrange telehealth appointments with your GP rather than face-to-face appointments. You can also arrange delivery of your prescriptions through your pharmacy. Talk to your GP and pharmacy about these options.
A new phone line is now available for senior Australians that provides information, support and connection. The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line is available Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 6.00pm on 1800 171 866.
If you would simply like to have a chat, you can call the FriendLine on 1800 424 287. Their friendly volunteers are ready to talk about anything and everything.
My Aged Care can arrange prepared meals or access to priority online and telephone grocery shopping if you are over 65 years. Contact My Aged Care by phone on 1800 200 422 from Monday to Friday 8.00am to 8.00pm and Saturday 10.00am to 2.00pm.
And if you would like friendship, you can access the Community Visitors Scheme which is continuing through the pandemic with phone and virtual friendships. For more information visit www.health.gov.au/cvs
For further information about support services available or about COVID-19, please visit the Department of Health website.
Steps senior Australians can take to protect themselves
- As we move towards a COVIDSafe Australia you can continue to take steps to protect yourself from getting coronavirus.
- We all need to consider how we go about our lives while reducing the risk of getting coronavirus.
- You should consider your health and wellbeing when deciding whether to go out and about in your community.
- Each person has a different situation in relation to their health, family, work and social connections.
- Talk with your family about the potential risks to your health if you were to get coronavirus and how you can minimise the risk of getting it.
- You can decide with your family and friends about your involvement in activities. You may like to think about how each person can help prevent the spread of the virus to your circle. Everyone should still do the 3 to stay COVID free:
- continue to stay 1.5 metres away from others wherever possible
- even if you are feeling well, practise good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene
- download the COVIDSafe app
- If you are unwell, please stay home. If you have cold or flu like symptoms get tested.
- You can download the new mobile app COVIDSafe if you have a smart phone. It works on Android 5.1 operating system (Lollipop) or later models, and iPhone 5S or later models with iOS 10 operating system.
Family members and friends can play their part too
- Help protect older people from coronavirus.
- If you are unwell stay at home. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms, get tested for COVID-19.
- Do not visit older family members or friends if you are at all unwell.
- If you are visiting someone in an aged care home, check the current restrictions in place for visitors. You may also like to read the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes during COVID-19.
- If you are visiting older Australians, clean and sanitise any items you intend to take with you, including gifts.
- Look for other ways of staying in touch with senior Australians and family and friends in aged care facilities.
- If you are concerned about an older family member or friend’s health, encourage them to call their doctor. Remind them they can have a telehealth appointment rather than a face-to-face appointment.
Support services available for senior Australians
Medical appointments and prescriptions
- It is still important to keep your regular medical appointments.
- If you need to see a doctor you can arrange a telehealth appointment rather than a face-to-face appointment.
- If you need a prescription, you can arrange for your doctor to send your prescription to your pharmacy. Your pharmacy can then deliver your medicines to your home. You should call your pharmacy first to make sure they can deliver your medicines by the time you need them.
Flu shot – free for over 65 year olds
- You should get a flu shot, it is available for free for people over the age of 65. Call your doctor to arrange an appointment.
Help with food, meals and grocery shopping
- Support services are available for senior Australians during the coronavirus pandemic. These include:
- Prepared meals, food staples and essential daily items are delivered to those who need them through services like Meals on Wheels.
- Major supermarket chainsare offering priority shopping via online and phone ordering for senior Australians registered with My Aged Care.
- If you already receive aged care services, you can arrange these services with your provider.
- If you are not registered with My Aged Care and you are 65 years or over, you can call My Aged Care to register. Services can be set up quickly for up to six weeks without the need for an assessment. Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Wellbeing and social support for older Australians
- The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line is a new phone service that provides information and support for older Australians, their families and carers. If you need assistance please call 1800 171 866
- The Community Visitors Scheme is available for people receiving or approved for residential care or home care packages. The Scheme offers ongoing friendship or companionship. People can be set-up with a volunteer who will call or contact them by phone or online.
- Different organisations provide the Community Visitors Scheme in different locations. Please visit the Department of Health website to be directed to a provider in your area.
- The FriendLine is for anyone who needs to reconnect or just wants a chat. All conversations with FriendLine are casual and anonymous and friendly volunteers are ready to talk about anything and everything. You can call them on 1800 424 287.
Meal delivery services and priority access for grocery shopping are available for senior Australians who want to #stayhome to stay healthy. For more information on how to access these services visit: www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/advice-for-people-at-risk-of-coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-older-people
Older Australians can still see their doctor and get medications without leaving their home. For more information visit www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/advice-for-people-at-risk-of-coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-older-people
There is a new telephone support line for older Australians and their families, friends and carers. The new Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line provides information, support and connection. For more information visit: www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/advice-for-people-at-risk-of-coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-older-people
Regular virtual visits from volunteers to senior Australians can help improve quality of life and help older people feel less isolated. Learn more about referring someone to the Community Visitors Scheme or volunteering as a virtual visitor here: www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/community-visitors-scheme-cvs
Last updated 14/07/2020