Date published: 
19 November 2020
Media type: 
Media release
Audience: 
General public

Senior South Australians are being encouraged to seek support as the state responds to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said the lockdown and subsequent restrictions could increase anxiety and isolation for the most vulnerable.

“The care and wellbeing of senior South Australians is a priority for the Australian Government as we collectively deal with this critical issue,” Minister Colbeck said.

“It is important senior South Australians, including those in aged care facilities, know support is available – be it to arrange food or medication, access a GP, access information about COVID-19, or just find someone to talk to.”

Minister Colbeck also urged providers to consider the Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes During COVID-19 which ensures the response to the pandemic was proportionate and in the best interests of the residents.

The Code, developed in conjunction with consumer peak bodies sets out a nationally consistent, principles-based approach to maintaining residents’ visitation and communication, remains in place.

“Connection remains vital during this difficult time, particularly for vulnerable Australians, those suffering from dementia or in palliative care,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Providers have a responsibility to ensure residents can retain some form of contact.”

Additionally, the Australian Government’s has committed $1.6 billion to deliver the COVID-19 Aged Care Response Plan.

This includes $243.2 million to support older Australians at home during COVID-19 through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), Home Care Packages and My Aged Care.

Earlier this month, the Government extended the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line until 30 June 2021 with an investment of $2.5 million.

More than $12.5 million is supporting aged care recipients and families who have been impacted by COVID-19 outbreaks, including enhanced advocacy services and increased availability of grief and trauma support services.

The Industry Code for Visiting Residential Aged Care Homes During COVID-19 can be found here.

Immediate assistance is available via:

  • My Aged Care – 1800 200 422
  • Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line – 1800 171 866

Senior South Australians can also access:

  • Assistance with food and meals, including prioritised online grocery ordering, the delivery of emergency food and essential supply boxes and urgent referrals to meal providers;
  • Access to MBS telehealth services so senior Australians can talk to a GP or other allied health professionals without having to leave home;
  • Home medicine delivery through pharmacies, enabling people to have prescriptions delivered to their home;
  • The Community Visitors Scheme, which supports senior people receiving Home Care or Residential Care who may be feeling more isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic through phone and virtual friendships;
  • The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line (1800 171 866), which provides information and support to senior Australians, their families and carers;
  • The National Dementia Helpline (1800 100 500), which is a free telephone service that provides information and advice to people living with dementia and family, friends and carers of people living with dementia;
  • Friend Line telephone support service (1800 4 CHATS, 1800 424 287), which offers a free and anonymous telephone service that provides senior Australians with the opportunity to chat with a volunteer;
  • The Head to Health website, which has been launched to support people who would like some help coping with anxiety or worry about COVID-19;
  • A range of dedicated coronavirus digital resources and a 24/7 phone-based counselling service led by Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) and staffed by accredited mental health professionals;
  • The Australian Red Cross (1300 885 698) can also provide you with a daily telephone call to check on your wellbeing through the “Telecross” service;
  • The Suicide Callback Service offers a targeted phone (1300 659 467) and online counselling service that helps people with a range of issues related to suicide; and 
  • TIS National for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients.