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Caring for the elderly during the pandemic

For people living with dementia or some other form of cognitive impairment, the ability to follow instruction or to alert others about potential medical or COVID-19 symptoms may be a challenge. This is especially so where there is a limited capacity to communicate verbally or express pain and discomfort. In this situation, observation by someone who knows the person with dementia may assist in identifying changes in their health.

If you regularly visit someone living with dementia or another cognitive impairment, considering other ways of maintaining social contact will help reassure individuals who may feel anxious about possible changes to their day to day life during this pandemic. You can also contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, or Lifeline 13 11 14.

Some aged care providers are asking people not to visit facilities in order to protect the older people living there. In these cases, there is usually a process the provider has in place for exceptions, such as when a loved one is very unwell. Call the facility to understand what processes are in place. If you have concerns with the facility’s actions, contact the Older Person’s Advocacy Network on 1800 700 600 or the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission on 1800 951 822.

If you are not able to visit, consider other ways to stay in touch, including phone and video calls, writing, or filming short videos to share.

The Older Persons COVID-19 Support Line provides information and support for Older Australians, their Carers, friends and supporters on 1800 171 866

The National Coronavirus Help Line on 1800 020 080 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

COTA is available at

c/- Dept Health Fact Sheet

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