Dementia peak body welcomes extension of Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line

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Dementia Australia has welcomed an announcement by the federal government of a $2.5 million investment to extend the Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line until 30 June 2021.  

Dementia Australia CEO Maree McCabe said the continued investment will enable Dementia Australia and other advocacy and support groups to continue to help older Australians to get the critical information they need to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. 

“The support line has received more than 5,000 inbound calls and provided more than 29,000 outbound calls,” Ms McCabe said.

“As well as helping to provide information to stay healthy and safe during the pandemic, the support line is also an accessible one-stop source for personal support, questions and up-to-date guidelines.

“We encourage people living with dementia, their families and carers to call the support line, where they will be connected with our 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 is a joint initiative of 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.

“It is fantastic to see that the service will now be extended to include outbound calls to carers of people living with dementia, as well as more specific community supports for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) seniors,” Ms McCabe said.

“The unprecedented social distancing measures and restrictions put in place as a result of COVID-19 have 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.

“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.  

“We look forward to continuing our work with the federal government to ensure appropriate support and services are provided to those impacted by dementia.”

Dementia Australia is the source of trusted information, education and services for the estimated half a million Australians living with dementia, and the almost 1.6 million people involved in their care. We advocate for positive change and support vital research. We are here to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible. No matter how you are impacted by dementia or who you are, we are here for you.

For support, please contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500. An interpreter service is available and the Helpline is open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday excluding public holidays. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Australian Government. People looking for information can also visit dementia.org.au 

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Media contacts: Gabrielle Prabhu, Media and Communications Manager, 0447 253 583, [email protected] 

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia-Friendly Language Guidelines.