COVID-19 advice for seniors

How older people can stay COVID safe in the community and find support and information about antivirals, vaccination and testing.

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Entry to aged care residences

Contact the residential care facility to check if there are any current entry restrictions or arrangements and also check NSW Health advice for 

Simple steps to protect yourself


Icon with doctor

Speak to your doctor before you get sick


Icon Testing Health

Understand what test to do when you feel unwell


Antiviral medicine icon

Check if you're eligible for antivirals


Icon Vaccination Health

Stay up to date with your vaccinations

Staying safe

NSW Health advises that people over the age of 70 are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 

Talk to your GP now so you know which COVID-19 test you should do if you get sick and if you need antiviral medicines. Your doctor can fill out an antiviral pre-assessment form and you can discuss which treatment best suits you.

Antiviral medicines work best when taken as soon as possible, usually within 5 days from when your symptoms start.

Vaccinations for seniors

People aged 70 and over are encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and from spreading it to others.

If you are aged 70 years or over and have completed your primary dose or course of COVID-19 vaccination and received your first booster, you are now eligible for an additional booster (second booster).

If you have concerns or questions you can call:

  • Your doctor or GP
  • NSW Health Vaccination Support Line 1800 57 11 55 
  • Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) 131 450 .

If you are feeling unwell

If you are 70 years and older and have COVID-19 symptoms, even if mild, you should get a PCR test as they are more accurate.

There are antiviral medicines and other early treatments available that can only be prescribed in the early stages of the disease. Please speak to your GP (doctor) for more information.

Symptoms of COVID‐19 include

  • fever
  • cough
  • a sore or scratchy throat
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • loss of smell or
  • loss of taste.

If you can’t get a PCR test result quickly, do a rapid antigen test (if you have one) while you wait for the PCR test result.

Follow the NSW Health advice on COVID-19 testing if you are 70 years and older.

General advice to avoid COVID-19

It can feel daunting getting out and about again following years of trying to reduce contact with others, but there are safe ways in which you can reconnect with your loved ones and do the things you love:

  • wear a mask when indoors and when you can’t physically distance from others
  • gather with family or friends outdoors or in well-ventilated areas
  • wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser
  • stay at home if you feel unwell, and feel free to ask others to do the same
  • get tested for COVID-19 if you have any symptoms. If you get COVID-19 and are at higher risk of serious illness you may be able to access antiviral medicines
  • stay up to date with your vaccinations, including COVID-19 and flu vaccinations
  • continue to attend any medical appointments you may have.

Visiting people in aged or disability care

We all need to take steps to keep people who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 safe.

If you have friends or family members who are live in aged or disability care, you can help them by:

  • staying in touch, but not visiting them if you are unwell
  • doing a rapid antigen test before you visit
  • meeting outdoors or in well-ventilated areas if possible and maintaining physical distancing
  • dropping off groceries or other essentials if they need support

Read more about visiting people in aged care or disability care.

Staying connected

If you live alone take care of your mental health by staying connected with your community, family, and friends. While you might not feel comfortable seeing people in person, you can stay in touch over the phone.

Using a mobile phone, portable device, laptop or computer will give you even more options to stay connected by text message, email, online chat apps and video calls.

Using mobile apps and online services

The Tech Savvy Seniors Program provides low-cost training to help seniors use apps and online services.

The program is delivered by community colleges and libraries at locations across NSW. Find out more about how you can access the training.

If you are concerned about protecting your personal and financial information online, visit the Australian Cyber Security Centre website where you can

  • learn how to protect yourself online
  • keep up with the latest online threats and know how to deal with them
  • find out about help available if you are caught out by a scam.

Getting help at home

If you need help at home, visit the My Aged Care website to find out about the home care available to you on an ongoing basis or even for a short time. This might include services that will help you:

  • stay well and independent
  • be safe in your home
  • keep in touch with your community.

Keeping active and healthy

Looking after yourself also means moving your body.

Keep yourself active and healthy by:

  • getting some fresh air and exercise
  • eating a healthy and balanced diet
  • attending to your regular medical needs.

Information and advice

You can call these free services for information about COVID-19 or help with home care, transport, social connection or financial support.

Service NSW

  • Phone: 13 77 88
  • Open: 7am - 7pm, Monday to Friday and 9am - 5pm on weekends and public holidays.
  • Information about COVID-19 and NSW government services
  • Service NSW website

Multicultural Health Connect | healthdirect

  • Phone: 1800 186 815
  • Open: 11am to 7pm Monday to Friday. Closed public holidays. Available in all states except Queensland and Tasmania).
  • Free health support and advice in your language.

      National COVID older persons information line

      • Phone: 1800 171 866
      • Open: 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Closed public holidays.
      • Practical help and advice on the current guidelines and support available.

      Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)

      Disability Gateway (formerly disability information helpline)

      National Coronavirus Helpline

      Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)

      National Relay Service

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