The number of people aged 65 and over in Australia is projected to more than double, to 8.8 million, over the next 40 years. This will undoubtedly increase the need for aged care in the community and put pressure on families and Government funding.
In Australia, the Government subsidises different types of aged care services to cater for older peoples’ needs and to support their carers – usually their family. This is a sensitive and complex area, and for more and more Australians is a decision they will need to make for themselves or a family member in the future. It makes sense to understand the process and plan ahead to ensure you and your family members receive the care they need, when they need it.
Receiving help at home
Initially, for most people, receiving care at home is the most convenient and the least unsettling option. There are two levels of support.
1. Entry-level support: the Commonwealth Home
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) can provide ongoing or short-term care and support services including planned respite care to give you or your carer a break, help with housework, personal care, meals and food preparation, transport, shopping, health and social support.
To access the CHSP, you need to have a home support assessment completed by a local assessor from a Regional Assessment Service (RAS). The RAS assessor will work with you to develop a support plan that reflects your entry-level aged care needs, goals and preferences.
The Government subsidises a range of services to keep fees affordable. An income and assets assessment is not required to access these services. You will simply need to discuss and agree any fees with the service provider.
2. Complex support: the Home Care Packages
When your aged care needs increase, you can be reassessed to receive a Home Care Package to meet your specific care needs within the home.
An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will assess your Home Care Package needs. In Victoria, this is called Aged Care Assessment Services (ACAS). There are four levels of Home Care Packages to meet an individual’s care needs ranging from basic to high.
The Government provides a different subsidy amount for each level of Home Care Package. You will need to contribute to the cost of your care if your income level, including any Age Pension that you or your partner are receiving, exceeds certain thresholds. This is called the Income-Tested Care Fee and it is capped at $14.96 per day for part pensioners and $29.92 per day for self-funded retirees.
Receiving care in a residential aged
If you can no longer live at home, there is the option to move into a residential aged care home. An aged care home provides accommodation and help with everyday tasks, personal care or 24-hour nursing care.
Care and services that are provided include:
• hotel services such as bedding, cleaning, meals, social activities and help in emergencies
• personal care such as assistance with eating, dressing, arranging access to health professionals and emotional support
• complex care and services, such as, nursing and therapy services.
Your care needs will be assessed and approved by ACAT (ACAS in Victoria).
Finding a home
Each home is different, so visiting a selection of homes will help you to find out what you can expect. You’ll be able to see what the accommodation is like and what types of care, services and activities they offer.
It generally takes a few weeks to receive the assessment results from ACAT and can take one to three months to find a suitable aged care home.
The Government pays for the bulk of aged care costs, however, you are required to contribute to the cost of care based on your financial situation. You and your partner’s income and assets will be used to determine the fees that are applicable. Your family home will not be included in the assessment if it is occupied by certain protected persons such as, a spouse, a carer or close
relative under certain circumstances.
Aged care can be complex and, like other financial decisions, it makes sense to understand the options available so you and your family can make suitable arrangements as well as good
If you or a loved one needs aged care, please contact us and we can help.