Getting out and about and having enjoyable experiences is one of the most important things for seniors. It’s not ideal for them to do it alone, however, research shows that having companionship provides important physical and mental health benefits. That means someone else needs to accompany them, and that can require paying double the cost for every event.
The Companion Card is a great solution to this issue, and it’s easy and quick to apply for, especially if you have the right help to do so.
What Is A Companion Card and How Does It Work?
The NSW Companion Card is a tool that allows free entry into multiple venues and events for a senior or disabled person’s companion. It enables your elderly loved ones to include a companion at no charge. This means they can take either a caregiver or a family member with them to leisure activities without having to pay an entrance fee for the extra person.
After a simple application process, seniors and disabled people can get this card that allows them to take a second person with them when they go to organisations and activities participating in the Companion Card program. On presentation of the card, both parties can enter but only the cardholder will be charged the entrance fee.
The application process for a Companion Card is strict in order to reduce the chances of the program being abused. When you get your card, it will display the cardholder’s name and photo alongside a card number and expiry date. It will also have a number of security features built-in that businesses and organisations use to verify the holder’s information when booking or purchasing if they require a free ticket for their companion.
How to Apply for a Companion Card
To be eligible, you need to be a citizen or resident of NSW or one of the people with a significant or permanent disability. In the case of seniors, this applies to anyone who is unable to participate in community activities or visit venues without attendant care support.
The disablement also needs to be severe enough that you can’t use technology or aids to meet your needs. If your situation appears to be life-long and you don’t expect it to change, you should qualify to apply for a Companion Card.
Companion Card Application Form
To complete the application, you’ll need to have access to a computer to download it in PDF format. Print out and fill in the personal information section of the form, or ask your caregiver to provide the help you need to do so. Include your contact details or those of a family member, as appropriate.
Take the form to your service provider and get them to complete ITEM 4 of the form if it applies to you. You’ll also have to visit your general practitioner or another health professional to complete ITEM 6 and to provide the documentation and reports to support the application.
For the application, you’ll also need two passport-size colour photographs, which are signed on the back by the health professional. Be sure to get the photos taken prior to your appointments with providers, so you can obtain the signatures you need to confirm your identity. You might also require documentation such as medical reports from a doctor or specialist to support your application.
Seniors who have a live-in carer can ask them to help with the application process. The carer can complete your section of the Companion Card application form, drive you to your appointments with various health professionals and take you to get the two passport photos taken.
Where Can I Use My Companion Card?
More than 1,000 businesses and organisations in the state accept the NSW Companion Card. While there’s a full list on the NSW website, some popular options include:
- Theatres and cinemas of all types, including the Arcadia Cinemas and the Bondi Open-air Cinema. Cardholders can enjoy the benefit of a low-key outing and a free ticket for their companion on any of the dates and times listed on the cinema and theatre websites.
- Clubs, such as the Illawarra Master Builders Club or the Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club, which has around 5,000 members and boasts two bowling greens, full club facilities, and a social club.
- Concerts and entertainment: If you’re a music lover, you won’t want to miss out on the Australian String Quartet, which has delivered performances for the past 30 years that wowed national and international audiences. Rock-and-roll fans will enjoy the Elvis Festival held every year in January in the town of Parkes, and many other wonderful concerts. Bring along a companion at no charge to enjoy the event with you.
- Amenities like the Yass Town Bus service, which allows people living in the Yass and Murrumbateman areas to travel into and around the town. The service has many pick-up points, which means it’s ideal for those with attendant care support to run errands and get safely and easily across town. Other areas have similar transportation services that seniors and their companions can make use of.
- Select fitness centres and gyms, where people of all ages and physical capabilities can enjoy a high level of healthy activity in a safe environment. Sports venues such as the Alexandra Park Athletics Complex and the Yarramundi YMCA are great options for watching sport or participating in healthy outdoor activities, depending on where you’re located.
- Of course, everyone enjoys a bit of culture now and again, and NSW Companion Cardholders have access to 51 different Museums in the state. These range from the iconic Australian Museum in Sydney to the Project Contemporary Artspace in Wollongong.
As long as cardholders present the card when booking or purchasing a ticket for a venue or activity, they’ll get a ticket for their companion completely free of charge.
How We Can Help
Our wonderful team of care professionals can not only help you to prepare and apply for the Companion Card program, but we can also help you dress for any occasion and drive you to the event. If you’re being accompanied by a family member or a friend, they can meet you at the venue and accompany you from there. This increases convenience because they don’t need to pick you up in order to spend quality time with you. The carer can pick you up afterwards or be waiting at home to greet you on your return. If you need your carer to attend an event with you, they will be very happy to dress up and accompany you.
Getting an NSW Companion Card can change life for yourself or a loved one by making it possible to enjoy a much wider range of activities. Given the opportunity to bring a companion at no charge, people who were previously unable to participate in many types of events can now do so safely without necessarily needing to rely on family members for help.
At Care for Family, our wonderful care team are experienced in helping clients complete the application form and gather the necessary documents to apply for the card program. Please schedule a call with us to find out how we can help change your life today.