The uncertainty of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the precautions put in place to keep our community safe can be challenging for all Western Australians.
Older people can be at a greater risk of adverse health outcomes as a result of COVID-19, largely because of underlying health conditions. However there are things that you can do to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe and supported during this time. Many of the services listed below are Western Australian and have been developed specifically for older Western Australians.
The State Government, through the Department of Communities, formed the Seniors COVID-19 Taskforce, which operated during 2020. The Taskforce focused on ensuring the needs and concerns of older Western Australians were well understood and considered in the development of ongoing COVID-19 responses.
More information on the work of the Taskforce is available on the Community Sector Partnerships webpage.
Supports and services
- National COVID Older Persons Information Line – Older people and carers are encouraged to call the Information Line to speak to friendly, specially trained staff. Call 1800 171 866 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am–5pm AEST).
- Australian Government Department of Health – The National Coronavirus Helpline can provide information 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. Call 1800 020 080.
- Western Australian Department of Health – For up-to-date COVID-19 health information and advice call 13 COVID (13 268 43) or visit the HealthyWA website.
- Community Connect, Injury Matters – This program for older adults in Western Australia is free and easy to join. The program links members with like-minded people in the WA community for a free chat. Each month, members will be connected with another person in the program to share stories, activities and create a positive connection. Call 1300 303 540 or register online on the Stay On Your Feet website.
- Global Centre for Modern Ageing Portal – This online portal provides information and resources for older people on topics including food and nutrition, health and wellbeing, physical activities, work and e-learning and social connection. Visit the Global Centre for Modern Ageing Portal website.
- Safe Exercise at Home – This website provides some information on ways to stay active during COVID-19 at three levels of function and fitness.
- Lions Hearing Clinics – Untreated hearing loss can cause social isolation. Improve your hearing and get back to enjoying the sounds in your life and conversations with loved ones. Call the Hearing & Tinnitus Advice Line on 1800 054 667 or visit the website.
- At Home Guide – Council on the Ageing Western Australia’s (COTA WA’s) At Home Guide supports older Western Australians to live well. While the guide is particularly relevant during COVID-19, it is designed as an ongoing companion for seniors at home. The guide was developed in partnership with the Department of Communities.
- Australian Government My Aged Care – COVID-19 information and support for older Australians in Australia Government funded aged-care. Call 1800 200 422 or visit the website.
- Older Persons Advisory Network (OPAN) – The COVID-19 frequently asked questions page provides answers to common questions regarding COVID-19 and aged care services. The COVID-19 resources page gives access to reliable and accurate sources of information about COVID-19. Call 1800 237 981 (7 days a week, 6am–10pm AEDT) or visit the website.
- Carers WA can assist people providing unpaid daily care to a spouse, relative or friend to navigate the system of supports aimed to help you cope with the COVID-19 situation. Call 1800 007 332 (Monday to Friday, 8.30am–4.30pm AWST) or visit the website.
Elder abuse and legal support
- Advocare Elder Abuse Helpline – Elder abuse is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.
If you are experiencing any type of elder abuse, Advocare can listen to your concerns and work with you, and with your consent, a family member, or another representative who is working in your best interests, to resolve the situation.
Services are free and confidential, and you can choose how much you would like Advocare involved in resolving the issue.
Call 1300 724 679 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Older People’s Rights Service (OPRS), Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre – Comprised of a senior lawyer and nurse advocate team. The service is funded through the Department of Communities to provide legal advice, information and support to older adults who are at risk of, or are, experiencing elder abuse in the Perth Metropolitan and City of Mandurah area.
OPRS maintains the Senior Addressing Risks at Home (SARaH) program. The program is operated by trained volunteers who make weekly calls to older adults who may be feeling isolated and appreciate a social chat with a peer.
Call (08) 9440 1663 (Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre Mirrabooka) or (08) 9301 4413 (Northern Suburbs Community Legal Centre Joondalup) or email email@example.com.
- The Seniors Rights and Advocacy Service (SRAS) has been developed by Legal Aid WA to provide effective legal assistance to older people experiencing any form of elder abuse, and to safeguard and advocate for the rights of older people in Western Australia.
Help is free and confidential, and advice can be provided by phone, face to face and through community outreach. Legal Aid WA also offers virtual offices, home visits and visits to retirement villages and aged care facilities.
Call on 1300 650 579 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on elder abuse, including support services and resources, visit the Elder Abuse page.
Emergency and food relief
There are community organisations around the state that provide emergency relief to people experiencing financial hardship, in the form of food vouchers, assistance with bills, referrals to other services, and more.
- WAConnect – This online directory can help you and your family find extra help in these challenging times.
- The Emergency Relief and Food Access Service provides support in identifying and applying for emergency relief. Call 1800 979 777 (9am–5pm Monday to Friday AWST)
- National Debt Hotline – Free, independent and confidential financial information and support provided by financial counsellors. The hotline can also help you find other financial support services in your community. Call 1800 007 007.
- Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA – Financial counsellors work for not-for-profit organisations and can help you to sort out your debts and work with your creditors. You can locate your nearest financial counsellor on the website by typing in your postcode. There are also updates and resources about COVID-19 on this website.
Support for older people from Aboriginal and Culturally and Linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
- Western Australian Government – COVID-19 advice in other languages – A list of resources are available about COVID-19 in languages other than English. The resources include fact sheets, guidelines and other publications.
If you have a COVID-19 question and need an interpreter call 131 450, then request the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. You can also visit the Translated advice page.
- SBS Radio – News and information about COVID-19 is available in 63 languages. Available on the SBS website.
- Australian Government Department of Health – Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities – The National Coronavirus Helpline provides information on coronavirus 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.
Call 1800 020 080 or visit the Australian Government Department of Health Coronavirus advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and remote communities web page.
Local Government support and services
Many local governments have put in place services and programs specifically to support older residents during this time. Some of these services include phone welfare checks to ensure the wellbeing of older residents and ensuring appropriate referrals or services can be implemented; delivering mystery boxes from the local library; and neighbour programs so that residents have someone to talk to.
Contact your local government directly to find out what they are providing, or if you don’t know which local government area you are in, you can call WA Local Government Association (WALGA) on (08) 9213 2000.
Support for LGBTIQ+ older adults
- GLBTI Rights in Ageing Inc (GRAI) – The GRAI mission is to be responsive and inclusive whilst promoting and supporting quality of life for older people of diverse sexualities and gender identities. GRAI has information on its website to provide LGBTI elders with some useful resources to help with day-to-day challenges due to COVID-19. Visit the website, email email@example.com or the GRAI Facebook support group.
- QLife – QLife provides Australia-wide, anonymous, LGBTI peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about a range of issues including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. Call 1800 184 527 (6pm–10pm AEDT) or visit the QLife website to access web chat (available 3pm to midnight AEDT).
- Volunteering WA has developed resources to support volunteers and organisations through COVID-19.
Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
A fact sheet of services and outcomes framework graphic is available for download by seniors, their family members or support people.
The Department of Communities will continue to provide updated information on this web page as it becomes available.
If you are looking for information about the WA Seniors card you can visit the Seniors Card website or call (08) 6551 8800 (metro) or 1800 671 233 (country free call).
For a Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) telephone 13 14 50.
For speech or hearing assistance visit the National Relay Service website or phone:
- Voice Relay on 1300 555 727
- Teletypewriter (TTY) on 133 677
- SMS relay on 0423 677 767