Older people living alone
Alone but not isolated
The 2006 Census found that more than 40% of people in the City of Sydney live alone. Many of these residents live healthy, active lives and are in touch with their neighbours and local communities. However, some may be at risk of becoming cut off from society due to advanced age, ill-health or fears for their own safety.
People who are socially isolated can easily become invisible to the rest of the community, which can affect their individual health and wellbeing. They may have an accident or a fall at home, and have no way of alerting someone that they need help.
If you are someone living alone who might need help for peace of mind, or if you are concerned about someone else who lives alone, these pages give information on a number of services that are available.
If you would like more information about the services listed in this section, or would like to make an enquiry on behalf of a family member, neighbour or friend, please contact:
Programs and Policy Development Officer
02 9265 firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal emergency alarms
These portable devices provide a way to instantly ask for help, even if you cannot reach the phone.
The Independent Living Centre has a range of products available depending on your personal needs.
Links and contacts
For more information about these devices, please visit the website or call:
02 9912 5800 or 1300 885 886
Free daily telephone calls to check on the wellbeing of older people are available from the Australian Red Cross.
If a call goes unanswered, its Telecross service starts an emergency procedure to arrange help if it is needed. Call 1300 885 698 for more information about the service.
If the cost of installing or reconnecting a phone line is too high, Telecross can tell you how to get free or low-cost phone access. Centrelink and Telstra also have options available.
Other agencies that can offer help with phone connections and financial hardship include The Salvation Army, The Smith Family, Anglicare and the St Vincent de Paul Society.
You can download below a list of emergency telephone numbers and essential safety contacts that we have put together.
Next of kin register
Older people who live alone can register personal information such as next of kin, doctor's and dentist's contact details, and medical alert information, so that in an emergency ambulance officers or police can get in touch with the nominated people more easily.
You can download a next of kin registration form at the bottom of this page.
Kings Cross Police has a Seniors Personal Information kit that provides important telephone numbers and a contact information sheet to record important personal information. The information is then kept on the police database and a laminated reference sheet will be created, free of charge, so it can be kept on the fridge and accessed in case of emergencies.
To get a free Seniors Personal Information kit, please contact your nearest City of Sydney Neighbourhood Service Centre or give us a call:
City of Sydney
02 9265 9333
To be included on the next of kin register, please contact your nearest police station:
02 9265 6499
Glebe02 9552 8099
Kings Cross02 8356 0099
Newtown02 9550 8199
Redfern02 8303 5199
Surry Hills02 9265 4144
The Rocks02 8220 6399
Squalor and hoarding
Some people neglect their personal health and immediate surroundings for many reasons, sometimes to a point where their behaviour and living conditions can present a risk to themselves or others. This may include severe self-neglect, accumulating rubbish, hoarding, and a home infested with vermin.
Catholic Community Services was provided with a grant from the City of Sydney to put together a Squalor and Hoarding Toolkit where you can make a referral, request advice or training.
For further information, you can also call:
Catholic Community Services1800 225 474
Last updated: Thursday, 16 January 2014