Information for older Australians on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Key information about COVID-19

Where do I find the most up-to-date information?
Where do I find specific advice for older people?
What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Why is this virus so dangerous for older people?
I feel unwell – what should I do?
I'm in lockdown in Victoria. What support can I get?
Can I get help with food and shopping?
I need urgent home support services – what do I do?
I receive aged care services – how does COVID-19 impact them?
Can I take leave from my aged care home?
Can I still have contact with friends and family?
I’m feeling lonely and/or worried, what can I do?
I need help using the computer – can I get support?
What is the COVIDSafe App and how do I use it?
I care for an older Australian – is there support available?
I speak a language other than English. Are there translated resources available?
Helpful resources

Where do I find the most up-to-date information?

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert.

Where do I find specific advice for older people?

If you are an older Australian, or a family member or friend of an older Australian, visit Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for older people.

What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Find out how to identify coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

Why is this virus so dangerous for older people?

The older you are, the higher your risk of serious illness from COVID-19. 

Learn how to protect yourself and others.

I feel unwell – what should I do?

If you’re having a medical emergency, call 000.

If you’re feeling unwell, the Department of Health website explains what you should do.

I'm in lockdown in Victoria. What support can I get?

If you’re an older Australian living in Victoria, all the services listed on this page are available to support you. Here are some key services to be aware of:

  • The COVID-19 support line (1800 171 866 free call) is available 8:30am – 6pm AEST weekdays. This service exists to provide senior Australians, their families and carers with support and advice in dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Assistance with food, meals and shopping. There are a range of support options available to help you, even if you aren’t registered with My Aged Care. View more information below or call us on 1800 200 422.
  • If you’re living in an aged care facility, you can read up-to-date information about what the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions mean for you.
  • Read specific COVID-19 information and advice for older people on the Department of Health website.

Can I get help with food and shopping?

Yes, you can. The government has put in place arrangements to help you access food, prepared meals, and essential household items. 

How you access this support depends on your situation. Choose what applies below:

I am receiving aged care services

If you’re currently receiving aged care services and need help with groceries or meals, talk to your provider to discuss your situation. If you can’t get onto your provider, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

I’m not receiving aged care services but am registered with My Aged Care

If you’ve received My Aged Care services previously, you will be registered with My Aged Care and have a My Aged Care ID number.

  • You can use your My Aged Care ID to receive priority online and phone shopping with major supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths. You will need to use your My Aged Care ID when you order. If you don’t know your My Aged Care ID, you can call us and we will provide this information over the phone. 

    You will pay for your groceries as you normally would. 

    If you’d like to learn how to order your groceries online, there are online classes available.
     
  • If you’re not able to shop online or by phone, you can get help with shopping or meals from a local aged care provider. Call My Aged Care to be referred to a provider in your area. Services can be set up quickly for up to 6 weeks without the need for an assessment.

    You will need to pay a contribution for these services. You will discuss this with your provider. If the provider is doing your shopping for you, you will need to pay for your groceries.

I’m not registered with My Aged Care

If you are 65 or over, you can register with My Aged Care by calling us on 1800 200 422 (freecall) and answering some simple questions over the phone.

  • Once you register, you can use your My Aged Care ID to receive priority online and phone shopping with major supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths.
  • If you’re not able to shop online or by phone, My Aged Care can refer you to a local aged care provider to get help with shopping or meals. Services can be set up quickly for up to six weeks without the need for an assessment.

You will pay for any groceries as you normally would. If you receive shopping or meals services, you will need to pay a contribution for these services, which will be discussed with your provider.

I’m in a crisis situation and need urgent assistance

If you aren’t registered with My Aged Care but are isolated, in crisis, or unable to get help from friends, family, or a provider in your area, call us on 1800 200 422. We can help you access an emergency Standard Supply Pack, which contains basic food supplies and household items. We will also refer you to a local provider for short-term services.

My Aged Care is available between 8am and 8pm weekdays and 10am to 2pm on Saturdays.

I want to help someone else access these services

If you want to call My Aged Care on behalf of a friend or family member who is 65 or older, you will need to register as their representative. This means we can make sure the person you care for consents to you speaking on their behalf. This process can be as simple as contacting My Aged Care together, the first time you call. Read more about becoming a representative.

I need urgent home support services – what do I do?

Older Australians can access short-term home support services (such as meals or personal care) in an emergency without having had an aged care assessment.

To access emergency aged care services, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

I receive aged care services – how does COVID-19 impact them?

The Australian Government and aged care providers are working together to respond to the changing situation and protect the safety of all older Australians.

I’m receiving services at home

There may be some changes to the way home support services are delivered. If you have questions or concerns about your current services, or would like to change your services because of the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact your provider. 

Download the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for older Australians factsheet to read more about impacts to Home Care Packages and help at home (Page 4).

Download It's ok to have home care, a factsheet that contains information for older people who may have an aged care worker visiting them at home.

I’m receiving services in an aged care home

To keep older people safe, some restrictions have been put in place in aged care facilities.

Learn about the restrictions for aged care facilities and residents.

Can I take leave from my aged care home? 

Yes, you can. There is a new emergency leave provision that has been introduced with recent legislation changes. This means that permanent aged care residents can now take temporary leave from an aged care home during a situation declared an emergency by the Australian Government. This could include disasters (natural or otherwise), pandemics or epidemics.

For more information on this, read our new Emergency Leave factsheet for residents.

Can I still have contact with friends and family?

Read the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for older Australians factsheet for information and advice on ways to help you stay connected.

I’m feeling lonely and/or worried, what can I do?

We know this can be a stressful time. Social distancing, self-isolation, and changes to your daily routine and life can impact your wellbeing. 

If you are feeling lonely, distressed or confused, you can call the COVID-19 support line on 1800 171 866 (free call). This is a dedicated service for older Australians. It provides a safe place to speak with an expert who can listen and offer practical help and advice. The support line is available Monday to Friday, except public holidays, from 8:30am to 6pm.

Some other things that may help:

  • Call a family member or friend to talk about how you’re feeling.
  • Visit the eSafety website for some resources that can connect you with other older Australians online.
  • Read the Head to Health website for tips on how to cope with anxiety, depression, and other challenges you may be facing at this time.
  • Call FriendLine for a chat on 1800 424 287. FriendLine is a national telephone support service for older Australians.
  • The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) can help can organise volunteers to visit people receiving Home Care Packages or living in government-funded aged care homes.

I need help using the computer – can I get support?

Yes, you can. Be Connected is offering free online classes (known as webinars) to help you improve your digital skills. There are a a range of classes to help you learn how to do things like:

  • video call your family, friends and health professionals
  • order groceries online
  • complete everyday tasks such as banking
  • find out up-to-date COVID-19 information.

Even though these classes are online, you can call the Be Connected support line on 1300 795 897 and someone can help you get started.

View the courses available, dates and times.

What is the COVIDSafe app and how do I use it?

The COVIDSafe app, approved by the Australian Government, helps find people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. This means you'll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk.

To learn more about the app, how it works, and how to use it, visit the Department of Health website.

If you want more information about how to download apps, there are online resources available.

I care for an older Australian – is there support available?

Yes, there is. If you are a carer and need access to support, services or information, contact your current service provider or call:

  • the COVID-19 support line on 1800 171 866 (free call). This service exists to provide senior Australians, their families and carers with support and advice in dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737, which can provide access to short-term counselling and emotional support. The Carer Gateway website also hosts a range of resources and information to support you in your caring role.

Importantly, respite services continue to be available for carers. This includes both in the older person’s home and in an aged care home.

If you are a carer and require:

  • emergency respite, you should contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737
  • planned respite, you should contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422

I speak a language other than English. Are there translated resources available?

Yes, you will find translated COVID-19 resources for older Australians on the Department of Health website.

People who have difficulty speaking or understanding English can contact My Aged Care through the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National).

Helpful resources

There is useful information and advice on other trusted websites. Below are some resources to keep handy:

News and updates

For alerts on issues like COVID-19, information on new features coming to this website, important updates from the Australian Government about aged care, and more, visit our News and updates page.

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