Jump to a section: Our Services | Our work | Current health advice and restrictions | COVID-19 vaccines | Contact tracing and QR codes | Financial support | Useful contacts – COVID-19 | Mental health support | Elder abuse support | Future planning and medical treatment decision-makers
Last update: 4 June 2021
Our Information Line is available to older Victorians from 9.30 am to 4 pm weekdays. You can call the information line on 1300 135 090 or email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our office is currently closed in line with Victorian Government restrictions, but most of our services are still being provided by staff working from home. If you are not sure whether an event or program is running, please contact our Information Line for advice.
COTA Victoria continues to meet regularly to assess whether the pandemic services and information available in Victoria is meeting the needs of older people as we continue to work towards recovery. To read more about our work in 2020 please consider page 5 of last year’s Annual Report, and know we are still advocating on your behalf.
In 2020, COTA Victoria and the City of Whittlesea conducted a survey with older people to inform future work around COVID-19. The survey aimed to describe what older Victorians were saying they needed to support them during the pandemic. The survey is now closed, but you can access the full report at COTA Coronavirus survey.
We used data from this survey to inform our submission to the Public Accounts and Estimates Committee’s Inquiry into the Victorian Government’s response to COVID-19. You can access the final submission at COTA submission on COVID-19.
Current health advice and restrictions
Victoria’s circuit-breaker restrictions now extend until midnight 10 June. For more information go to Victorian Government COVID-19 safe settings.
For Melbourne, there will still be only five reasons to leave home:
- shopping for food and supplies
- authorised work and study
- care and caregiving
- getting vaccinated.
People will be able to travel further for exercise and shopping, with an expanded 10km radius.
You can leave home if there is an emergency and you can leave home if there is family violence or violence by another person in the home, and you are at risk.
If you live in regional Victoria there are no restrictions on the reasons to leave home, but staying COVID safe remains important, with further information also available at COVID-19 safe settings.
Other restrictions such as wearing a mask outside the home, both indoors and outdoors, stay the same. It is mandatory to wear a face mask unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so.
Make sure you do your part to limit the spread of COVID-19 by washing your hands regularly and practising good hygiene.
Make sure you keep up-to-date with the list of COVID-19 case locations and outbreaks to ensure you have not been exposed to the virus.
If you think you may have been exposed to the virus or have symptoms, you should get tested immediately and quarantine at home until you have received a negative result. The Victorian Government has created an online self-assessment tool for people who think they may have COVID-19. You can find a list of testing locations on the Department of Health and Human Services website. If you have an injury, chronic health issue or frailty that affects your mobility, you may be eligible to have a COVID-19 test done at home through the Victorian Government’s Call-to-Test Service.
For the most up to date information on restrictions in Victoria, please call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.
The Victorian Government is prioritising vaccine access to all Victorian aged care and disability workers from 2 June – 6 June between 9 am – 4 pm. For more information go to Victorian vaccine information.
All Victorians over the age of 50 can now access the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccines are free, safe and voluntary – the more people who are vaccinated, the greater the protection for those vaccinated and the whole community. The best person to talk to if you have concerns about your health and being vaccinated against COVID-19 is your doctor/general practitioner (GP).
To find out more about the AstraZeneca vaccine, take a look at the fact sheet that has been developed by the Australian Government Department of Health.
You can access the vaccine through your GP or community health centre, or by visiting a mass vaccination centre. Some of these mass vaccination centres are accepting walk-ins and others can only be accessed by appointment. For further details, including a comprehensive list of mass vaccination centres in Victoria, visit the Coronavirus Victoria website.
If in doubt, you can access the Australian Government’s Vaccines Eligibility Checker to determine whether you are eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccination.
If you have any outstanding questions about the vaccine or the rollout, you can call the National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080 or email email@example.com
If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest news about vaccines in Australia, we suggest listening to Coronacast. Coronacast is an ABC podcast that aims to answer your questions about COVID-19.
Contact tracing and QR codes
As you move about in the community you will notice that a wide range of public venues, including cafes, restaurants, and now supermarkets, will now ask you to ‘sign in’ using the Victorian Government’s QR code. This involves providing the venue with your name and contact details before you enter.
Why do I need to provide my personal information?
When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the Victorian Government will gather information about any public venues they may have visited while infectious with the virus as part of the contact tracing process.
Providing your name and contact details when you sign into a venue makes it possible for the Victorian Government to:
- Know whether you might have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Contact you if they think you might have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.
What is a QR code, and how does it work?
The letters “QR” stand for “quick response”.
A QR code is just like a barcode, but it contains information that can be read using the camera on a smartphone or tablet.
If a venue uses a QR code system, scanning the code using your smartphone or tablet will take you to an electronic form to enter your personal information.
How do I scan a QR code using my smartphone or tablet?
In most cases, it’s as simple as opening the camera app on your device and pointing it at the QR code.
For instructions on how to scan a QR code using an Apple device, click use QR code on Apple device.
For instructions on how to scan a QR code using an Android device, click use QR code on Android device.
What if I don’t own a smartphone or tablet?
COTA Victoria is aware that many older people will not own a smartphone or tablet, so will not be able to use QR codes. Most businesses are already mindful of this fact and are assisting in helping people sign in. Staff at venues can use their device to sign in someone without a smartphone. For more information go to My phone won’t scan QR codes.
If you feel anxious about visiting a venue because you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, you might like to phone them ahead of time to let them know that you will need assistance. This way you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you arrive.
If you visit a venue with a friend or family member who can scan the QR code, they can scan the code a second time to check you in.
We will continue to work with government and industry to raise awareness of businesses’ needs.
Businesses are now required to ensure you check-in and provide an alternative if you can’t use QR codes. They can deny you entrance to their venue if you refuse to provide your details for them to register you. For more information go to what if I don’t want to check in.
If you are ever refused access to a venue because you can’t sign in using a QR code and there is no alternative offered, please contact us. However, we stress that this is unlikely. We encourage you to get out into your community and support local businesses as soon as we are able. This is new to all of us, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
If your job, business or income has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are a range of ways the Victorian Government can help. Go to financial support for business and workers.
If you require personal financial assistance, you might like to contact the National Debt Helpline. The helpline provides free and confidential advice from professional financial counsellors. You can contact the helpline on 1800 007 007, Monday to Friday, 9.30 am – 4.30 pm.
Useful contacts – COVID-19
- Coronavirus Hotline
Phone 1800 675 398, 24 hours.
If you think you may have COVID-19, you can call the hotline for information. Call 000 in a medical emergency.
- National COVID Older Persons Information Line
Phone 1800 171 866
Personal support, questions and guideline information specifically for older people and their carers. It’s operated by Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, National Seniors Australia, Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) and Dementia Australia.
- Multilingual Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line
The support lines can be contacted Monday to Friday between 2 pm and 5 pm AEST, except on public holidays: Italian (1800 549 844), Greek (1800 549 845), Vietnamese (1800 549 846), Mandarin (1800 549 847), Cantonese (1800 549 848), Arabic (1800 549 849).
- National Dementia Helpline
Phone 1800 100 509, Monday to Friday, from 9 am – 5 pm.
The national helpline provides information and advice about Dementia and COVID-19.
Mental health support
Phone 13 11 14, 24 hours
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
- Older Australian’s COVID-19 Support Line
Phone 1800 171 866, Monday – Friday 8.30 am – 6 pm
Offers support to older people who feel lonely or distressed, troubled, or confused, or need to talk to someone about their concerns caring for an older person during COVID-19.
- Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service
Phone 1800 512 348, 24 hours
Operated by Beyond Blue, it offers phone counselling from trained mental health professionals. It can also assist with referrals to other services such as services that offer financial support.
- Red Cross COVID Connect
Register onlineor phone Red Cross on 1800 733 276
A nationwide telephone outreach service for people who are feeling lonely or isolated during COVID-19. It connects trained Red Cross volunteers with people who want a friendly chat, with options for daily or weekly calls.
- Carers Australia
Phone 1800 242 636Monday to Friday, 8.30 am – 4.30 pm.
Carers Australia Provides Short-term counselling psychological support services for carers and their families.
Elder abuse support
- Seniors Rights Victoria
Phone 1300 368 821, Monday – Friday 10 am – 5 pm.
A free, confidential helpline to assist people experiencing or know someone who is experiencing elder abuse.
Future planning and medical treatment decision-makers
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted more people to think about their future planning, with many now considering making legal documents such as an advance care directive or enduring power of attorney.
These are complex documents that should not be completed in a rush.
Take the time to reflect on, discuss with others and write down your wishes, preferences and values about various matters. This ensures that if you ultimately choose to complete legal documents, they will reflect what you really want.
Visit the Office of the Public Advocate website for more information or call their advice line on 1300 309 337, Monday to Friday 9 am to 4.45 pm.