Information and resources on coronavirus (COVID-19) for older people, their family, friends and carers.

For the latest information and advice on restrictions visit Victoria's restriction levels.

You can also call the Victorian 24-hour coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398 (free call) for advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) or information about restrictions. Press 0 when you call if you need an interpreter.

If you’re feeling less connected to family and friends as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can call the Victorian 24-hour coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398 to talk to  a volunteer from the Australian Red Cross who can link you in with local supports.

Key points

To help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), all Victorians should:

  • Practise good hygiene – wash your hands and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. 
  • Keep your distance – stay 1.5 metres away from anyone you don’t live with. 
  • Stay at home and get tested if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild.
  • Wear a fitted face mask when you leave home,no matter where you live. This cannot be a face shield, bandana, or scarf on its own. A face mask needs to be worn covering both your nose and mouth. 
  • There are a number of lawful excuses for not wearing a face mask. 
On this page

Staying safe

For the latest information and advice on restrictions across Victoria, visit Victoria's restriction levels

Across Victoria, you must wear a face mask when leaving home no matter where you live. Read more about face masks.

Get your flu shot. Vaccines are now available from your GP and pharmacy. Call ahead to check their availability and to make an appointment. The influenza vaccine is free for people aged 65 years and over.

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should, get tested and stay at home until you receive the results. The test is free for everyone.

Keeping well

To support your health and wellbeing being, older Victorians are encouraged to continue to:

  • monitor existing health conditions and seek healthcare if required
  • keep important scheduled medical appointments
  • take medications that your doctor has prescribed
  • take care of your mental health
  • keep active
  • stay connected with family and friends using technology
  • seek help if you are feeling anxious, uncertain or unsafe.

For more information go to Seniors online.

You can also find more mental health tips and resources on this site.

It is important that people who are more likely to become very sick with coronavirus (COVID-19) take steps to protect themselves and follow advice from healthcare professionals. Find out more about coronavirus.

From 11:59pm 11 October 2020, all Victorians must wear a fitted face mask when they leave home, no matter where they live. This cannot be a face shield, bandana, or scarf on its own. A face mask needs to be worn covering both your nose and mouth. Read more about face masks.

Staying connected

There are things you can do to stay safe and connected while following the latest health advice.

Older Victorians are encouraged to:

  • practise good hygiene – regularly wash your hands and do not hug or shake hands
  • continue to use video calls to keep in touch with friends and family
  • talk with your family, carers and friends about how to support you
  • consider having groceries, medicines or essential supplies delivered to you
  • think about how you can spend time outdoors. Exercise is one of the four reasons you are allowed to leave your home. Under the second step restrictions in metropolitan Melbourne you can leave your house for an two hours for exercise with members of your household; or up to five people including you (and from a maximum of two households) one other person, but you cannot go further than five kilometres from your home.

Most Victorian councils are providing local support to residents, including older people. Contact your local council to find out more.

You can also enjoy music and entertainment in the comfort of your home as part of Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined.

Or check out the Victoria Together website for more to enjoy.

Getting support at home

There is a range of support to help older Victorians during this time.

The support available includes:

  • Emergency relief packages
  • Getting groceries delivered
  • Home support services

To find out more go to Seniors online.

Support for carers

Many older people care for others. There are services to help give carers a break.

The Victorian Support for Carers Program provides support for all carers, including respite.

To find out more about respite in your area or to find your local Support for Carers program provider phone Carers Victoria Advisory Line on 1800 514 845.

Frequently asked questions

Victoria's restrictions

Do I need to remain at home?

The reasons you can leave home are different depending on where you live in Victoria. 

For the latest advice on current restriction levels visit Victoria's restriction levels.

All Victorians must wear a face covering when you leave home. By staying at home and limiting contact with other people, we slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep ourselves, our families and friends safe.

For the latest advice on current restriction levels visit Victoria's restriction levels.

If you need to go out, remember to:

  • keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from those you don’t live with
  • take hand sanitiser with you
  • practice good hygiene by washing your hands and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.

If you are feeling unwell, stay home and get tested.

All Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live. Read more about face coverings.

Visiting family and friends

Can I have visitors?

As part of Stay at Home restrictions, Victorians living in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria cannot have visitors at their home, unless it is for care or an essential service.

You cannot have social visitors to your home.  People can only enter your home for care or other compassionate reasons.

You cannot make social visits to friends and family. 

If you live in regional Victoria, you can only travel to metropolitan Melbourne for permitted work, care and compassionate reasons, or shopping for food and necessary goods and services. If you go to metropolitan Melbourne for shopping for food and necessary goods and services, then the 8pm to 5am curfew and the other restrictions that apply to people in metropolitan Melbourne will also apply to you.

It is important to continue to practice good hygiene by washing your hands and cough and sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.

You can use video conferencing, phone calls, text message or social media to stay in touch, and still provide care and support as needed.

When I visit family and friends can I hug them?

You cannot have social visitors to your home or make social visits to other people’s homes.  People can only enter your home for care or other compassionate reasons, and for work or education services.  

From 11:59 pm on Wednesday 5 August 2020, you can only gather in public places with one other person or members of your household. 

When you leave home you must wear a face covering, unless an exception applies.

People at risk of becoming sick with coronavirus

How do I know if I am at risk of becoming very sick with coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Although some people will only have mild symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), anybody can become very sick with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Due to their lower immune systems, people over the age of 70 are more likely to get very sick with coronavirus (COVID-19), along with people with chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems and others.

However, older people are a diverse group with varying experiences of health and wellbeing. You should consider your own health needs and situation when thinking about how to stay safe and talk to your GP if you’re unsure.

See more information on who is most at risk of being very sick from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Do I need to wear a mask when I’m in public?

From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, all Victorians must wear a face covering when they leave home, no matter where they live. 

It is important to wear a mask correctly. Make sure your mask fits snuggly and covers your nose and fits under your chin, and make sure it is secured with ties or elastic over your ears. While wearing a mask, you should also continue good habits and practices to stay safe, like washing your hands regularly.

Read more about face masks.

What can I do to protect myself if I am at greater risk of becoming sick?

It is important that people who are more likely to become very sick with coronavirus (COVID-19) take steps to protect themselves.

If you have a chronic medical condition or compromised immune system, it is important that you continue to look after yourself and take your regular medications. Keep following advice and ask help from your doctor, nurse or healthcare worker.

See more information on who is most at risk of being very sick from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Medical care

Can I go to medical appointments?

Yes. Phone your GP or healthcare provider and they will talk with you about whether an in-person appointment is required, or whether your doctor can help you via Telehealth instead.

It’s important to keep monitoring existing health conditions, and getting new symptoms checked and diagnosed quickly. 

Medical check-ups and cancer screening appointments are crucial in the early detection of health issues and may save your life.

Doctors, nurses and mental health professionals can deliver bulk-billed services via phone or video call until 31 March 2021.

You can also call Nurse-on-call on 1300 606 024 to speak with a registered nurse for caring, professional health advice 24 hours a day.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the name given to healthcare that happens over the phone or via a video call with you and your healthcare practitioner – for example, a doctor, nurse or counsellor – without you having to travel to the healthcare provider’s office.

A telehealth appointment is just like a normal appointment, only you will be speaking with your clinician on a phone, computer or smartphone.

Why would I have a telehealth appointment instead of an in-person appointment?

To slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), we must reduce unnecessary contact with other people. Telehealth allows you to keep in contact with your GP or health professional without having to travel and be in contact with other people.  
 

Support for carers and family members

I am a carer. What happens if I need to self-isolate?

If you need to self-isolate and feel that it is not safe for the person you are caring for to stay home with you, you may want to explore the option of temporary residential respite for them.

The Victorian Support for Carers program provides flexible respite and support services for unpaid carers of people with care needs. To find your local provider, phone the Carers Victoria Advisory line on 1800 514 845 or go to www.carersvictoria.org.au/carer-benefits/support-for-carers-program

There may be community-based support that could be of assistance.

A My Aged Care Assessment will identify if there is available support that you can access if you’re unable to provide care. Call My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422 or go to myagedcare.gov.au

As a carer, you can also access information and support via the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 or via the website: carergateway.gov.au

Is it safe to visit my family member in aged care?

Visiting is restricted, with limits on who can visit and the time and number of visits  To find out more go to Visiting care facilities.

Some aged care facilities that are experiencing outbreaks of coronavirus (COVID-19) may be further restricting visits to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. You should contact the facility before visiting to check if there are any additional restrictions.

From 11:59pm on Sunday 2 August 2020, visitors to any care facility across Victoria must wear a face covering unless they have a lawful reason not to.

To find out more see Aged care sector - coronavirus.

Social support

Are there any local supports available for seniors?

Yes, most Victorian councils are providing local support to residents, including people over the age of 70. Visit the Seniors online social support hub to contact your local council to find out more: www.seniorsonline.vic.gov.au/services-information/social-support-hub

What can I do if I feel lonely and worried?

There are many ways to be supported if you are feeling anxious or uncertain.

If you’re feeling less connected to friends and family as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can call the hotline 1800 675 398 to connect with a volunteer from the Australian Red Cross who can link you in with local supports.

You can also contact the Older Persons COVID-19 support line on 1800 171 866 (free call) Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm.

Beyond Blue offers practical advice and resources at beyondblue.org.au. The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone on 1300 224 636.

Lifeline offers tips, resources and advice, as well as crisis and suicide support. Call 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days). Text 0477 13 11 14 (6pm to midnight AEDT, 7 nights).

If you are experiencing severe emotional distress or mental health issues, speak with your GP or mental health practitioner.

Can I get emergency supplies if I need to self-isolate?

Yes. If you need to self-isolate or quarantine and do not have enough food to feed yourself or your family, you may be eligible to receive an emergency relief package.

These packages contain basic supplies and are for people who do not have access to a support network or alternate means of obtaining food such as online delivery.

To request a package call the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398 (free call).

Financial support is also available for Victorian workers who are waiting for test results or self-isolating. To find out more go to Test isolation and worker support payments.

Contact phone numbers

Victoria's 24-hour coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (free call).

Nurse-on-call on 1300 606 024 to speak with a registered nurse for caring, professional health advice 24 hours a day.

Aged care

Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 (free call) to access emergency aged care services.

Mental health

Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services on 1800 512 348 (free call) for more information about managing stress and support options.

Australian Government free mental health support line for senior Australians, their families and carers throughout coronavirus (COVID-19). Call 1800 171 866 (free call) Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 6pm.

Beyond Blue offers practical advice and resources at beyondblue.org.au. The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone on 1300 224 636.

Lifeline offers tips, resources and advice, as well as crisis and suicide support. Call 13 11 14 (24 hours/7 days). Text 0477 13 11 14 (6pm to midnight AEDT, 7 nights).

Food and groceries

Carers

The Victorian Support for Carers Program provides support for all carers, including respite. If you need a break or some assistance, call Carers Victoria Advisory Line on 1800 514 845 (free call).

Keeping connected

For Seniors Card or Seniors Festival inquiries call 1300 797 210.

Australian Government’s Be Connected program has free courses on everything from how to access the internet to making video calls or setting up your device. Call the Be Connected helpline on 1300 795 897.

Advice and support

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) provides free support to older people to address issues related to Commonwealth funded aged care services. Call OPAN on 1800 237 981 (free call), 6am to 10pm, 7 days a week to discuss any coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Victoria provides free support and information to all Victorians aged 50+. For more information call 1300 135 090.

Safety

Safe Steps offers support for people and families needing help, support and advice to stay safe – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – call 1800 015 188  (free call).

Seniors Rights Victoria provides free advice and legal assistance – call 1300 368 821.

Men’s Referral Service provides support, information and counselling to men – call 1300 766 491.

More information

Older persons COVID-19 support line

You can contact the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line (1800 171 866) if you would like to talk to someone about the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. You can ask for help or advice about services, help with daily activities, or if you are feeling lonely or worried.

Community Visitors Scheme

There is also a Community Visitors Scheme for older people who receive government-subsidised residential aged care or Home Care Packages.