The Morrison Government is acting to ensure older and isolated residents of Greater Shepparton have access to support services as the impact from the latest COVID-19 outbreak continues.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck and Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, have acknowledged the situation facing Shepparton residents, particularly for seniors who may be isolated and unable to get their essentials easily or safely.
Staff are on standby on the Government’s My Aged Care hotline (1800 200 422) for any locals aged 65 or over and Indigenous residents over 50 who are worried about shopping for groceries or having trouble preparing meals.
“I urge anyone in that situation to call the My Aged Care team, who will arrange support by a local Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) provider,” Minister Colbeck said.
The My Aged Care hotline is available on Saturday from 10am to 2pm, and weekdays from 8am to 8pm.
The CHSP is an entry-level home support program. It helps people over 65 years to live safe and independent lives in their own homes and communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over 50 years are also eligible for support under the program.
Eligible senior Australians can access CHSP services for up to six weeks in an emergency – such as a COVID-19 outbreak – without an assessment.
Importantly, if ongoing support is needed, the CHSP service provider will help people arrange a formal assessment of their care needs.
Mr Drum said in difficult times residents across Shepparton and surrounding districts pulled together.
“The people of Greater Shepparton have already showcased the strength needed to get through this challenge,” Mr Drum said.
“But it is vital we look out for one another.
“In every street and down every road there is somebody you can talk to, who is willing to offer assistance or put you in contact with somebody who can.”
Minister Colbeck said the mental toll of COVID-19 and the social isolation of lockdowns was of particular concern for older Australians.
“For the people of Shepparton, and indeed across the country, help is at hand if you’re feeling lonely, anxious or depressed,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Too often senior Australians go it alone when they need a helping hand.
“Please, put pride aside and pick up the phone if you need assistance in any way. There are services and support available.
“Importantly, if you have an elderly neighbour, friend or relative - it is more important than ever to check in with them across the fence, via phone or video call to ensure they are receiving the support they need.”
Mental health resources available to senior Australians include the Older Person’s COVID-19 Support Line on 1800 171 866, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or online at headtohealth.gov.au