Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has welcomed a dedicated free call line to support the mental health of senior Australians, their families and carers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are tough times, there’s no doubt about it, and senior Australians are amongst those who feel very vulnerable at the moment,” Mr McCormack said.
“We need to support them every way we can and ease their fears where possible by listening to their problems and providing ideas for solutions where we can.”
Established by the Federal Government in conjunction with the Council on the Ageing Australia, National Seniors Australia, the Older Persons Advocacy Network and Dementia Australia, the phone line will be staffed with advisers who can offer practical help and advice.
The support line number is 1800 171 866 and will operate weekdays, except public holidays, from 8.30am to 6pm.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, said talking to someone who understood and listened was an important outlet for anybody struggling to cope as the spread of the virus created additional pressure on individuals and communities.
In addition, the Department of Health is currently working to enable existing home support and home care providers to source technology-based personal monitoring systems for vulnerable senior Australians who are self-isolating.
“I urge people to call this support line if they are feeling lonely or distressed, troubled or confused, or need to talk to someone about their concerns caring for a vulnerable person during the COVID-19 outbreak,” Minister Colbeck said.
Mr McCormack said the new support line followed on from the bolstering of Meals on Wheels services announced earlier this month. That $59.3 million measure supports senior Australians staying at home in order to adhere to COVID-19 restrictions.
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