Once you reach 65, you are likely to be eligible for MyAgedCare funding, which you can use to access regular support to maintain your independence. The funding covers things like housekeeping, shopping, outings, medical care (e.g. home visits from nurses) and social visits.
However, it can take some time for funding to come through. If you’re waiting for confirmation of your MyAgedCare package, there are still free or low-cost support services you can access. Here are some options to explore:
Council programs for seniorsMany councils have special programs for seniors which are held on a regular basis. Sign up for arts and crafts, internet and technology lessons, singing groups and film clubs.
Seniors programs at your local council are a lovely way to meet people from your local area and stay social. Visit your local council website or drop by in person to see what’s on offer.
Your local council may have an aged services committee or seniors working group which advocates on behalf of seniors and develops initiatives to support a healthy community.
Library programsYour local library is likely to have book club, author talks, games nights or movie club. Seniors are invited to attend and get to know friends from the community.
Meals on WheelsIf you need help to maintain a healthy diet, Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals, wellness checks and companionship. Meals on Wheels is not means tested and is a service geared to the needs of frail older people, younger people with disabilities and their carers. The food provided by Meals on Wheels is nutritionally balanced, tasty and caters to specific dietary needs, cultural preferences, personal tastes, and most adhere to the National Meal Guidelines.
Different services have different menus and price lists. Phone 1300 679 669 or visit www.nswmealsonwheels.org.au to find out more.
ProbusProbus clubs around Sydney invite older members to join.
Probus is an international organisation which promotes health and wellbeing for members who are retired or semi-retired. The clubs are simple in structure and have no allegiance to church or politics. You can attend meetings or join groups for outings, for example to sightseeing destinations, art galleries or restaurants.
Jump online and Google ‘Probus’ to find your local organisation.
Rotary ClubsYou can also reach out to your local Rotary Club. There are often activity days and outings for senior citizens on the calendar of events.
Free transport servicesMost local government areas now provide a hop-on, hop-off shuttle bus service which travels around suburban areas. This is free of charge and generally operates on weekdays. Your local council website may be the best source of information.
Church and charity organisationsChurches often have volunteer programs to support local seniors. You don’t have to be religious but can drop by or call on the telephone to find out if there is help available for you, or activities you can participate in.
Your local council is a great place to start when you are looking for support to live independently. If possible, ask a loved one to help you do some research or make a phone call to find out what’s available in your area.