Senior Australians affected by ongoing lockdowns can access vital support services to ensure they stay socially connected and maintain their health.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said it was important older Australians and their families - particularly those living across hardest-hit local government areas in New South Wales and South East Queensland - understood what was available.
“Challenges remain for senior and vulnerable Australians as we continue to navigate the impact of the pandemic, particularly the effect of the Delta strain,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Staying connected and healthy has never been more important.
“Aged care services remain open and available to those who need them, especially for isolated Australians.”
The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line (1800 171 866) is an important first step for any older Australians who need support or assistance.
Additionally, Australian Government has provided the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) with $4.3 million to help deliver education, information and advocacy services for senior Australians and their families.
This extends to making information accessible for residential aged care residents and their families in areas most affected by lockdowns.
OPAN also offers a Wellbeing Check service to ensure the provision of emotional or social support, particularly for those people who have reduced or cancelled home care services due to pandemic concerns.
It is available to both Home Care Package or Commonwealth Home Support program recipients.
“We know due to concerns about COVID-19, some senior Australians have reduced or cancelled their in-home aged care services,” Minister Colbeck said.
“We want to ensure people have the best information when making these decisions, as reduction of services may negatively impact health and wellbeing.”
Minister Colbeck said vaccination remained the key defence against COVID-19.
Almost 80 per cent of senior Australians aged 70 years and over have received a first dose COVID-19 vaccine, which demonstrates strong demand.
In addition, more than 86 per cent of people of any age in residential aged care have received their first dose and 83 per cent are fully vaccinated.
“Vaccination is the best protection against hospitalisation and death due to COVID-19,” Minister Colbeck said. “Jabs can now be arranged through your GP, Commonwealth vaccination clinic or state and territory run vaccination clinics.”
For senior Australians with mobility issues, it is encouraged that you contact your GP to discuss the possibility of a home visit to receive your vaccination.
The Government continues to strongly encourage all in‑home and community aged care workers to get vaccinated.
Senior Australian COVID-19 support numbers and advocacy supports
- Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line - 1800 171 866
- Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement - 1800 22 22 00
- My Aged Care Contact Centre - 1800 200 422
- Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) - 1800 700 600 www.opan.com.au
A translation and interpreter service is available to access the above numbers (131 450). Senior Australians who require an interpreter can call this number select the language they speak and provide one of the COVID-19 support numbers to access the information in their own language.
Mental health services are also available for COVID-19 support:
- HeadtoHealth - www.headtohealth.gov.au
- Beyond Blue - 1800 512 348 or www.coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au
- Lifeline - 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au
- Open Arms - 1800 011 046 or www.openarms.gov.au