Older people living alone

Older people living alone

Alone but not isolated

The 2016 census found that 32.5%, or nearly one-third of people in the City of Sydney local area 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, these pages give information on a number of services available.

Or if you are concerned about the welfare of a friend, neighbour or relative living alone, please contact your local police station to conduct a welfare check. Our community safety contacts lists local police stations.  


If you would like more information about the services available in the City of Sydney local area please contact:

Mary Liang
Policy and Program Development Officer
02 9265 9333

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

You can download a list of emergency telephone numbers and essential safety contacts that we have put together.

Independent Living Centre02 9912 5800 or 1300 885 886Independent Living Centre

Regular contact

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.

Kings Cross police station 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 customer 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:

City Central
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 Healthcare has developed a resource unit for people affected by hoarding and squalor. The resource unit aims to help those in the community to access information and assistance about hoarding and squalor. It includes an online resource, helpline, e-learning module and an intake line for referrals. 


Catholic Healthcare Catholic Healthcare Resource Unit E-learning: Hoarding and squalor


For assistance, please contact:

Catholic Healthcare1300 345 852

To make a referral to the Catholic Healthcare program, please contact:

Catholic Healthcare intake line
1300 319 011

Last updated: Thursday, 18 July 2019