The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line, established to provide information and support to senior Australians, their families and carers during the pandemic, has been extended until 30 June 2021, following a $2.5 million federal government funding boost.
Dementia Australia welcomed the announcement, with CEO Maree McCabe saying the ongoing investment would enable the organisation and other advocacy and support groups to continue helping older Australians access the critical information they need to stay safe and healthy throughout the pandemic.
To date, the support line has received more than 5,000 inbound calls and provided more than 29,000 outbound calls. As well as providing information, it also delivers a one-stop source for personal support, questions and up-to-date guidelines.
Ms McCabe encouraged people living with dementia, their families and carers to call the support line and get connected to trained Dementia Australia advisors.
“We can offer strategies and support for families with concerns about a loved one in residential care and support carers of a loved one at home who might be struggling with isolation or changes to routine.”
The support service marks a joint initiative between Dementia Australia, COTA Australia, National Seniors Australia and the Older Persons Advocacy Network. The expansion of the service will also include support from the Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) Alliance.
Ms McCabe said the unprecedented social distancing measures and restrictions implemented in the wake of COVID-19 had significantly affected people living with dementia, their families and carers significantly.
“This extension will help to ensure the mental health of both people living with dementia and carers is a priority,” she said.
“We know that people from CALD communities can face difficulties with language and a lack of understanding of the service systems available to people living with dementia. This focus is vitally important.”