Older people and COVID-19

Wellbeing advice and contacts to support older people at this time

COVID-19 is causing disruption throughout the world and for some of us anxiety and fear. Please remember we are all in this together, and there are many organisations and people that can help. Here is some wellbeing advice, and contacts to support you at the moment.

Key resources


  • For access to high quality information, the New Zealand Government has a website, Unite against COVID-19, which focuses on what we can all do to help the country recover from COVID-19
  • The Unite against COVID-19 website has some great advice on looking after your mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • If you’re not sure what assistance may be available, or don’t know who to contact for help, call the Government Helpline on 0800 779 997, 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.
  • Radio New Zealand also has up to date COVID-19 information: visit rnz.co.nz and select the RNZ Menu for the frequency in your region.
  • Ministry of Health – advice for older people.

Get connected and stay safe


At Alert 1 it’s now safe to return to socialising without any restrictions. You can get together with whoever you like, wherever you like.

While you can get out and about now there are still some things you can do to keep yourself safe. A big part of staying safe is keeping up your hygiene.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) often and dry them thoroughly. Use an alcohol-based sanitiser and rub hands together if soap and water is unavailable.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or cover your mouth and nose with tissues. Put tissues in a bin immediately.
  • Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
  • Clean surfaces regularly. This includes items frequently touched like door handles and phones.

For advice about managing your health conditions during COVID-19 visit the Ministry of Health’s website.

Keep track

Another way to help stay safe is to keep a record of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen. This will help with rapid contact tracing if it is required.

You can download the NZ Covid Tracer app or simply make a note of where you’ve been.

How to access healthcare

  • Health and medical facilities are open.
  • If you are severely unwell, for example having trouble breathing, contact emergency services (dial 111).

How to access healthcare


  • Health and medical facilities are open.
  • If you are severely unwell, for example having trouble breathing, contact emergency services (dial 111).

Mental Wellbeing


Having been physically isolated for a long period of time may have led to feelings of loneliness, fear of becoming unwell, or boredom. Here are a few suggested ways you can look after yourself:

  • It is very important to stay connected with friends, whānau and others. If you need to stay home perhaps connect with these people via telephone, email, social media, or video conferencing (eg, Skype or Facebook Messenger).
  • Staying connected means you can help each other, look out for each other’s wellbeing or just be there for each other, offering a safe place for sharing your thoughts and concerns. If you do not have whānau or friends to connect with, others can check in on you, for example, St John’s Caring Caller where you are matched with a volunteer who will call you and check everything is okay and have a chat.
  • You may have experienced hard times before; you could think about the strengths that got you through these and how they could be applied at this time.
  • Eat healthy food and drinks and if you drink alcohol keep it to safe limits.
  • Keep regular sleep routines.
  • Remain active – get creative with the physical activities you can do at home
  • Do healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. This could be exercising in your living room, building something in your shed, singing, or gardening.
  • Visit the COVID-19 website for general tips on looking after your mental wellbeing.

If you are struggling to cope, and feel anxious or down


  • Please let someone you trust know. Don’t keep these feelings to yourself. There are people who can and want to help. If you want to talk to a professional a good start maybe your GP, or you can call the Depression Helpline about how you are feeling or to ask a question: 0800 111 757 or text 4202.
  • Remember that it is okay to share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too.

There are many organisations and people who can help


Many organisations and people in your community realise it’s a difficult time right now. Check out the list of contacts:

  • If you are feeling anxious or just need someone to talk to callor text 1737
  • Age Concern
  • If you need essential supplies, and do not have friends or whānau who can help, contact the Civil Defence Emergency Management Group.
  • If you need to discuss your entitlements, phone the Ministry of Social Development Senior Services line 0800 552 002
  • Concerned your symptoms may be COVID-19? Call the COVID-19 Healthline: 0800 358 5453
  • For general health issues, phone your doctor.
  • For emergencies dial 111.
  • If you are unable to find what you need online, and you’re not sure who to contact for help, call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997or on 0800 22 66 57(8am to 1am, seven days a week).
  • Other organisations.

Long-term health conditions


If you have a long-term health condition you may be more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19. Stay informed with up-to-date, relevant and credible information from our partners.

You can help


  • Get involved with the community or call friends or neighbours who might be feeling isolated. Don’t underestimate the power you have to offer hope to another person.
  • Many people run businesses, volunteer, look after others, and are active in their local communities – consider how you can do some of your usual activities if you have to stay home.

Download the NZ COVID Tracer app


Download available here: https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

The quicker we can contact people who might have come into contact with COVID-19, the quicker we can stop the spread of the virus.

Here’s how you can help support contact tracing

  • Sign up today
  • Share your up-to-date contact information
  • Scan NZ COVID Tracer posters to keep track of where you’ve been
  • Ask your whānau, friends and workmates to join in

Don't have a smartphone?

You can still register online to share your latest contact information.

For more information, head to https://tracing.covid19.govt.nz

Other people's stories

I celebrate my successes

I open up through art

I created a safe space

I look for positive things

I started training

I take my medication and attend therapy

I make music