Jump to a section: Our Services | Our work | Current health advice and restrictions | Visiting people in residential aged care | COVID-19 vaccines |COVID-19 testing | Managing COVID-19 at home | Useful contacts – COVID-19 | Mental health support | Elder abuse support
Last update: 06 April 2022
COTA Victoria continues to listen to our community about their experiences of living and emerging from the pandemic. We meet regularly to assess whether the information and services we provide support older people’s needs. We hope the following provides you with some resources for further information and support:
Current health advice and restrictions
We are no longer providing current health information and advice on this webpage. The Coronavirus Victoria website is the most up-to-date source of information for people living in Victoria. You can also access information by calling the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.
Visiting people in residential aged care
The Victorian Department of Health website offers the most up-to-date information and advice about how to Support aged care residents and visitors during COVID-19.
COTA Australia has also worked with a number of other organisations to develop an industry code for visiting aged care homes. The code aims to balance safety with the rights, dignity and wellbeing of aged care residents. It may be a useful advocacy tool for anyone who is experiencing issues around visitation.
If you are experiencing ongoing challenges with visitation, we recommend you contact Elder Rights Advocacy on 1800 700 600.
All older Australians are now eligible to access any of the following vaccines:
The Coronavirus Victoria website is the most up-to-date source of information about COVID-19 vaccines including how to book, vaccine eligibility and where to get your vaccination.
We recommend you speak to your doctor for advice before getting vaccinated or accessing any subsequent COVID-19 vaccinations – particularly if you have a chronic health condition.
If you have an outstanding question about any of the vaccines, you can call the National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080.
Proof of vaccination
You are no longer required to be double vaccinated or show proof of vaccination to access public venues in Victoria.
If you need to get tested, your first option should be to use a rapid antigen test (RAT). You can perform the test at home on your own. You’ll get a result within 15-30 minutes of completing the test.
If you cannot complete a RAT for any reason, you should have a PCR test done as soon as possible. You can locate a testing centre near you by visiting the Coronavirus Victoria 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.
Accessing free RATs
If you hold any of the following concession cards, you can access up to 10 free rapid antigen tests every 3 months:
- Pension Concession Card
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold, White or Orange Card
- Health Care Card
- Low Income Health Card
Free tests are available from participating pharmacies. While you are eligible to receive ten free tests every three months, you cannot receive more than five within a one-month period.
If you are a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case or have symptoms of the virus, you will be able to pick up a free RAT at any state-run testing clinic irrespective of whether you have a concession card.
Recording a positive RAT result
If you test positive on a rapid antigen test, You are required to notify the Victorian Government as soon as possible. To report your result, call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 or complete this online form.
Take a look at this checklist to find out what other steps you should take if you return a positive rapid antigen test.
Managing COVID-19 at home
The majority of people who contract COVID-19 will be able to manage their symptoms at home. For further guidance on managing COVID-19 at home, visit the Coronavirus Victoria website.
If your symptoms are getting worse or you are unable to do basic tasks such as shower, put on clothes, go to the toilet or make food, you should contact your GP for advice about what to do next. You could also try contacting Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should call 000 immediately:
- Severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Becoming short of breath even when resting and not moving around
- Becoming breathless when talking or finding it hard to finish sentences
- Breathing that gets worse very suddenly
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Coughing up blood
- Lips or face turning blue
- Skin cold, clammy, pale or mottled
- Severe headaches or dizziness
- Fainting or feeling like fainting often
- Inability to get out of bed to look after yourself
- Confusion (for example, inability to recall the day, time or people’s names)
- Difficulty with keeping eyes open.
When you call 000, let the operator know you have COVID-19 so the paramedics know how to treat you safely.
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.
- 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.
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.