The current pandemic has made it harder for older people to see their loved ones like they usually would, which is why these holidays can be so important to strengthen those connections.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, says there are many available services that can help vulnerable older Australians when they are in need during the holiday season.
"After a difficult year, it is vital older Australians stay connected during the holidays, which can be a lonely time for many people," says Minister Colbeck.
"The pandemic taught us the value of looking out for each other. It has never been more important.
"I would encourage all Australians to reconnect with the elderly people in their lives – their parents, friends and neighbours - to check on their needs and lend a hand if they need it."
There are a range of Government services that can provide social connectedness and mental health and wellbeing support to older Australians during the holidays.
The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line on 1800 171 866 can provide advice and referrals to services you may need during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes information about travel restrictions and advice about home care services.
If any older people, or their families and aged care staff, have experienced grief or loss and require bereavement counselling, you can contact the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement on 1800 222 200.
Dementia peak body, Dementia Australia, has the National Dementia Helpline, which is a free service for people living with dementia and their carers. It provides emotional support, guidance, and connection to relevant support services. The helpline is available from Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm (AEDT) on 1800 100 500.
You can also access dementia support services through the Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) on 1800 699 799.
Taking the time to reach out for help when you need it is really important during the holidays and these Government services can be a lifeline for many.
Minister Colbeck adds that the pandemic has further highlighted the importance of checking in on loved ones.
“Sometimes a phone call or a visit to senior relatives and friends is all that’s needed, but it is always appropriate to reach out for additional support if required," says Minister Colbeck.
Other available mental health and wellbeing support services includes:
BeyondBlue - 1800 512 348
Lifeline - 13 11 14
On the Line for the Suicide Call Back Service - 1300 659 467