Jump to a section: Our services | Health advice and restrictions | Contact tracing (and QR codes) | Financial support | Useful contacts – COVID-19 | Useful contacts – mental health | Useful contacts – elder abuse | Future planning and medical treatment decision-makers
Last update: 14 January 2021
Our Information Line is still 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 still closed, but most of our services are still being provided by staff working from home. If you’re not sure whether an event or program is still running, please contact our Information Line and we’ll be able to give you an answer.
Current health advice and restrictions
- There have been several new outbreaks of COVID-19 throughout Victoria this month. You should keep up-to-date with the list of case locations and outbreaks to make sure you have not been exposed to the virus.
- If you think you may have been exposed to the virus or you have symptoms, you should get tested immediately and quarantine at home until you have received a negative result. You can find a list of testing locations on the Department of Health and Human Services website.
- The Victorian Government has created an online self-assessment tool for people who think they may have COVID-19. Testing is open and encouraged for anyone who has symptoms.
- It is currently mandatory to wear a fitted face mask when you are in public indoor spaces unless you have a lawful reason for not wearing one. You should also wear a face mask outdoors when you can’t maintain 1.5 metre distancing from other people. You do not need to wear a mask when you are in your own home, or when you are eating or drinking. For more information about face masks visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.
- Everyone entering Victoria must apply for a permit, including Victorian residents. This ‘traffic light’ permit system applies to travellers from anywhere in Australia.
- Residents of the ‘border bubble’ with New South Wales are don’t need to apply for a permit. Find out what restrictions apply if you live in the ‘border bubble’.
- You can do your part to limit the spread of the virus by practising good hygiene.
- 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.
As you start to get out and about in the community again, you will notice that a wide range of public venues, including pubs, cafes and restaurants, will now ask you to ‘sign in’ using a 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?
- Having a record of who has visited a venue at a specific time is an important part of contact tracing.
- When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the Victorian Government will gather information about any public venues they may have visited while they were infectious with the virus.
- Providing your name and contact details when you sign into a venue makes it possible for the government to:
A) Know whether you might have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
B) 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 smart phone or tablet.
- If a venue is using a QR code system, scanning the code using your smart phone or tablet will take you to an electronic form where you can enter your personal information.
How do I scan a QR code using my smart phone 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 here.
- For instructions on how to scan a QR code using an Android device, click here.
What if I don’t own a smart phone or tablet?
- COTA Victoria is aware that there are many older people who will not own a smart phone or tablet so will not be able to use QR codes. Most businesses are already mindful of this fact and are providing assistance to help people sign in. Staff at venues can use their device to sign in someone without a smartphone.
- If you feel anxious about visiting a venue because you don’t have a smart phone 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 are visiting a venue with a friend or family member who can scan the QR code, there is also the option for them to add you as a dependent when they check-in.
- We will continue to work with government and industry to raise awareness of the need for businesses to ensure there is help available to those who need it.
- If you are ever refused access to a venue because you can’t sign in using a QR code, please contact us and let us know. However, we stress that this is a very unlikely outcome, and encourage you to start getting back out into your community and supporting your local businesses. This is new to all of us so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
The Australian Government will provide eligible Australians with an additional $250 stimulus payment in December and another in March. If you receive any of the following payments or hold any of the following healthcare cards, you are eligible for these payments:
- Age pension
- Disability Support Pension
- Carer Payment
- Family Tax Benefit, including the Double Orphan Pension (but not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
- Carer Allowance (but not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
- Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders (not in receipt of primary income support payment)
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders
- eligible Veterans’ Affairs payment recipients and concession card holders
If you require 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
- 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.
- National Dementia Helpline
Phone 1800 100 509, Monday to Friday, 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 are feeling 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 online or 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 242 636 Monday 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 who are 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 a range of 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.