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If you are retired or planning to do so in the near future it’s worth taking some time to check out the wide range of services, concessions and discounts available for older Australians.
Travel concessions, discounts on your household bills, aged care information and free advocacy services on issues facing older Australians are just some of the things on offer.
Many of these services are available nationally, while others are specific to the State or Territory where you live.
The Australian Government’s online portal for older Australians has links to a wide range of payments and services.
You can find direct links to national services below, including:
- The federal government’s My Aged Care website, which can help you find aged care services in your area for yourself or elderly loved ones, or to arrange an assessment for a Home Care Package
- A range of free vaccines available for all Australian seniors aged 65 and over via the Department of Health
- The financial information service provided by the Department of Human Services. This can provide you with information that will help you make decisions about managing your finances in retirement, including your superannuation balance.
While the following services are not government-run, they are independent and, in some states and territories, provide services on behalf of government.
- The not-for-profit COTA provides information and advocacy services for older Australians in areas such as aged care, retirement income and elder abuse. Go to the homepage for links to COTA branches in all states and territories.
- National Seniors Australia is an independent information and advocacy group for older Australians offering member discounts on a wide range of products and services. It has branches in all states and territories
New South Wales (NSW) services
Service NSW provides a range of services, including:
- Automatic vehicle registration renewal for pensioners
- Issuing Seniors Cards that enable concessions and rebates for older people living in NSW, including discounted rates on public transport, hospital parking, electricity, gas, water and taxis, as well as certain goods and services offered by participating businesses.
Ageing and Disability Abuse Helpline
This free service provides information, support and referrals relating to the potential abuse, neglect or exploitation of older people living in NSW. Anyone can contact the helpline anonymously.
Victoria (VIC) services
The Victorian State Government provides a range of health and social support services for older Victorians, including:
- Concessions on council rates, public transport fares, healthcare costs, energy and phone bills, via a Seniors Card.
- Ageing and aged care programs
- Palliative care programs.
Senior Rights Victoria
Seniors Rights Victoria provides information, support, advice and education to help prevent elder abuse and safeguard the rights, dignity and independence of older Victorians.
Queensland (QLD) services
The Queensland Government provides a range of services and benefits for older Queenslanders, including:
- Home support and housing
- Public transport and other concessions via a Seniors Card
- Transport assistance
- A free legal support service for older people who have been mistreated or taken advantage of financially.
Elder Abuse Prevention Unit
This Unit promotes the right of older people to live free from abuse.
Western Australia (WA) services
The Western Australian Government provides a range of services for older Western Australians, including:
Advocare is an independent, not-for profit organisation that provides a range of free advocacy and information services for seniors, their families and carers.
South Australia (SA) services
- Aged care and retirement housing
- Help at home
- Concessions and benefits via a Seniors Card
- Legal assistance.
South Australian Elder Abuse Prevention Phone Line
This is a confidential state-wide service that accepts anonymous calls related to potential cases of elder abuse.
Tasmania (TAS) services
The Tasmanian Government provided a range of services and information for older Tasmanians, including:
- Access to a range of local benefits and concessions via a Seniors Card.
Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline
This helpline provides referrals, information and support in relation to potential cases of elder abuse in Tasmania.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) services
ACT Seniors Information Online
The ACT Government provides a range of services for older Australians in the ACT, including:
- Support services
- Transport and mobility
- Housing and accommodation
- Recreational services and clubs
- Computer access and support.
Older Persons ACT Legal Service (OPALS)
OPALS provides legal assistance to older people in Canberra on matters such as setting up an enduring power of attorney, as well as guardianship and financial arrangements with family members. It also provides information on the National Elder Abuse Hotline.
Northern Territory (NT) services
The Northern Territory Government provides a range of aged care services for older Territorians.
In addition, they issue a Seniors Card that entitles the holder to various benefits and concessions provided by the government and participating businesses.
Elder Abuse Information Line
COTA NT runs a confidential phone information line on behalf of the NT Government with referrals for Territorians worried about potential cases of elder abuse.
A range of services, benefits and concessions are available to older Australians. Some are national, while others are state or territory based. It’s worthwhile to contact the relevant government departments, agencies and not-for-profit organisation in your state or territory to ensure you’re taking full advantage of all your entitlements.
The information contained in this article is general in nature.