Victoria announces wellbeing checks for elderly

By Rob O'Brien

Older Australians living in Victoria are to get health checks during the hot summer months, the State Government has announced.

More than 7,000 older Victorian public housing tenants living alone will be eligible for well-being checks to help them cope with this summer’s heat, Minister for Housing Richard Wynne announced.

Mr Wynne said the new Keeping in Touch – public housing contact service was developed by the Brumby Labor Government for tenants aged 75 and older as part of its commitment to supporting Victoria’s most vulnerable residents.

“We know that as people get older there is a need to maintain regular contact to ensure that they are healthy and safe,” Mr Wynne said.

“That’s why I’m pleased to announce we are taking action with the statewide roll out of this service, which is a practical way to keep in contact with our older residents, many who live alone and are aged 75 years and older. This is particularly important during the hotter summer months.”

Under the scheme, eligible tenants will be contacted by the Office of Housing to ask if they would like to be part of the program, which includes weekly phone calls from a Department of Human Services support worker.

Mr Wynne said residents could also sign up to the service at any time by phoning an information line to register.

“Then, during the weekly calls, support workers will ask about the tenant’s health and well-being. If a resident does not answer the phone after a number of attempts, their next of kin, or their local housing office will be notified to make an urgent visit,” Mr Wynne said.

He said the Keeping in Touch program had been running as a pilot across public housing in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs since April this year.

“The feedback we have received from our tenants during this pilot has been very encouraging; with tenants indicating the new service is much appreciated,” Mr Wynne said.

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