Seniors, people with disability and carers
On this page:
- Minimising risk and staying safe
- Stay informed about COVID-19
- Keep in touch with family and friends
- Financial and wellbeing support
- National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
- Information and support for carers
We are committed to helping seniors, people with disability and their families and carers stay safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides useful information and links to help you stay updated on what you need to know and do.
People with disability who need help because of COVID-19 can contact the Disability Information Helpline on 1800 643 787. It’s available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST). It’s not available on national public holidays.
Additionally, you can call the National COVID Older Persons Information Line on 1800 171 866. This line is for seniors seeking information on the current guidelines and support available.
The Older Persons Advocacy Network COVID-19 Information Line is also available for seniors on 1800 237 981 between 6am and 10pm seven days a week, to talk about your COVID-19 concerns.
For free help in your language, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50. If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133 677.
To help speed up the process of contacting people exposed to COVID-19, please download the COVIDSafe app. It helps health officials protect you, your friends and family. The app means you’ll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk and reduces the chances of passing on the virus.
Minimising risk and staying safe
People aged 70 and over, Indigenous Australians over 50, and anyone with a chronic medical condition are most at risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
If you fit into any of these categories, you should stay at home to self-isolate, and limit contact with others as much as possible.
Self-isolating does not mean you cannot stay connected. Make sure you are still connecting with your loved ones during this time by calling, texting or video calling. This is important for your mental wellbeing.
It’s important to keep getting fresh air and exercise. But avoid contact with other people and surfaces as much as possible to minimise your risk of contracting COVID-19.
Remember to eat a healthy and balanced diet and look after your regular medical needs. These are essential to staying healthy and well throughout this period.
Tips for helping friends and family
Be sure to check in on the people you love, especially seniors and people with disability.
Read the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission’s Tips to help older people and people with disability during COVID -19.
Read NSW Health’s Factsheet: Information for families of people in residential care facilities, if your loved one is in a residential care facility, such as an aged care home.
Stay informed about COVID-19
Stay informed with the latest NSW health advice and related COVID-19 support by visiting the NSW Government website regularly. The website also contains information about social distancing, self-isolation, and what savings and rebates are available.
You can find out more about what reasons you’re able to leave the house in the Public Health Orders. You can learn more about when people can leave their homes in the Directions under the Public Health Act Easy English booklet.
The federal government has launched a ‘Coronavirus Australia’ app and WhatsApp channel to keep you informed on the latest updates. Download the app via the Apple app store or Google Play store, or join the WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.
The Australian Government has developed a comprehensive COVID-19 factsheet for senior Australians. It has clear advice on how to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic.
NSW Seniors Card is proving regular updates on COVID-19, and relevant discounts and offers for seniors through its newsletter. Apply for a Seniors Card or Senior Savers Card to access thousands of discounted goods and services and receive the newsletter updates.
Seniors Card Newsletter Updates on COVID-19
Keep in touch with family and friends
You can still stay in touch with family and friends during COVID-19 without physically meeting up.
Here are some ways to reduce feeling socially isolated by keeping the conversation going virtually during COVID-19 pandemic:
- Pick up the phone – your family and friends are only a phone call away.
- Own a smartphone or computer? Try video calling.
- Create an online group via a messaging app.
- It’s game on! Challenge your family and friends with online games.
- Use the time to learn something new through online learning.
- Want to know what everyone is up to? Keep connected with social media.
- Technology not your thing? Write letters, draw pictures and post them to family and friends.
We've launched a new initiative to help you stay connected through this period.
We've asked community organisations to apply for grants to combat social isolation for seniors.
We want innovative and creative ideas to keep older people socially active during this challenging time.
Financial and wellbeing support
You may be feeling pressure financially and emotionally as a result of COVID-19. There are supports available to help you get through this challenging time.
You can call Service NSW 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 13 77 88. They can provide you with advice on what support might be available.
You may be eligible for Australian Government assistance, such as Centrelink payments. To find out more visit the Australian Department of Social Services website.
Many non-government organisations (NGOs) such as the Red Cross also have helpful information on their website. The Red Cross website provides advice about maintaining your physical and mental health while you’re self-isolating.
You can also report abuse of seniors and people with disability to the Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline. Phone 1800 628 221, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Learn more on the Ageing and Disability Commission website.
Your mental health
Looking after your mental health and wellbeing is very important. The NSW Mental Health Commission offers excellent resources and support for people affected by disaster.
There’s also a range of mental health services where you can get help:
- Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
The Red Cross also has a service called Telecross on 1300 885 698, where a friendly volunteer will call you every day to check that you’re okay.
Be mindful of the impact that the 24 hour news cycle can have on mental health and wellbeing. Whilst it is important to stay up to date with the news during this period, it is also important to take mental breaks. Take some time out to do things you enjoy like reading a book or watching your favourite movie.
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
You can keep up to date on NDIS services and support by checking the NDIS website.
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has published resources for NDIS participants. Resources include information about additional support, changes to services and planning meetings.
- NDIS COVID-19 factsheets (available in Easy Read and multiple languages)
- NDIS COVID-19 frequently asked questions
Financial help for Supported Independent Living (SIL)
The NDIA has introduced two new support items for NDIS participants living in SIL properties who are diagnosed with COVID-19. The support items help participants with cleaning services and higher intensity support.
For more information, visit the Supported Independent Living page on the NDIS website.
Access to support services
Some of the regular support services that you access may not be operating as normal. Please speak directly with your services about the support you need to stay safe and healthy.
If you want to get in touch with the NDIS you can contact them by:
- Calling 1800 800 110 and pressing 5. This will connect you with a planner, who can help you make changes to your plan
- Emailing email@example.com
- Using webchat to chat online
For more information, please visit the NDIS website.
Online training and resources
Disability services providers and people with disability can access online training and resources on infection prevention and control for those in disability or aged care.
At the end of this course you should be able to:
- understand the basics about the COVID-19 virus, including how it is spread
- describe what you can do to protect participants and your workforce
- know what to do if you develop symptoms
- know what to do if the person you are supporting develops symptoms
- tell the difference between myths and facts of COVID-19.
Information and support for carers
Thank you for your continued support in caring for your loved ones during this challenging time. There are resources and supports available to help you.
Commonwealth Carer Gateway
The Carer Gateway is a national online and phone service that provides practical information about supports for people who care for someone. They have specific information to help you through COVID-19.
The Carer Gateway can connect carers with local services in your area. This includes counselling, carer support planning, peer support, emergency respite care, online coaching and skills courses and carer packages.
You can contact the Carer Gateway by phone on 1800 422 737 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm) or via the Carer Gateway website.
Four Regional Delivery Partners are delivering Carer Gateway services across NSW from 6 April 2020.
Phone calls to the Carer Gateway will divert to the relevant local provider:
Benevolent Society - Metropolitan Sydney excluding South Western Sydney and Nepean.
Wellways - South West Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains.
LiveBetter - South Eastern NSW, Western NSW and Murrumbidgee.
Carers NSW - Hunter New England, the Central Coast and North Coast of NSW.
Carer Gateway is now your contact point for emergency respite: phone 1800 422 737 or visit the Carer Gateway website.
Please note some Carer Gateway service delivery will be impacted by COVID-19 with current limitations on face-to-face contact.
Carers NSW supports all carers regardless of their age, location, life-stage or circumstances. You can call Carers NSW on (02) 9280 4744 (weekdays 9am-5pm – please leave a message after hours).
You can find information on the Carers NSW website about:
- carer counselling
- carer support and programs
- finding a carer support group in your area
- advice and help with NDIS, Aged care services
- work and finances.
If you are a young carer (aged 25 years and under), you can access additional information as part of the Young Carer program.