Starting on the aged care ‘journey’ can seem as if you are standing at the base of an insurmountable mountain, without hiking boots, sunhat and provisions. The good news is that it’s not nearly that bad. It is important to remember that everyone’s care needs are different. This article provides some helpful information on how to make the right choice for you.
Everyone’s needs are different
The federal government, state governments and aged care sector recognise that a one-model fix-all approach will not work. Indeed, the past decade has seen more and more awareness that not only does there need to be a range of options and approaches, but wherever possible, the users of the services should have as much control over the decision-making as possible.
While the system is not perfect, it continues to move in the right direction, with increasing awareness that everyone’s needs are different, and everyone has the right to make the decisions that best suit their personal, medical and financial situations.
Aged care support in Australia
There are three main types of aged care in Australia. They are:
Home care provides support in your own home. There are various levels of support one can access with the federal government’s Home Help Packages Program. Services that aim to ensure that people live as close to their normal lives as possible include:
- personal care e.g. assistance getting dressed
- transport to shops, medical appointments and social activities
- simple modifications to the home, including hand rails and ramps
- nursing and physiotherapy
- assistance taking medication
- preparing and serving meals
- household jobs such as cleaning and gardening
- provision of mobility equipment such as walking frames
- linking with local community groups and social activities.
Respite care provides assistance for carers, giving them a break from caring duties. This assistance can involve a care worker:
- providing short-term care in the home, including overnight stays
- taking the person who requires care on an outing
- arranging social activities for the person who requires care, including transporting them to and from such activities
Aged Care Homes
There are three main types of aged care facilities:
- Low-level care facilities are suitable for people who need some care assistance but are still mobile and able to care for themselves to some degree.
- High-level care facilities provide 24-hour nursing care with nurses, assistants and/or personal care assistants available at all times.
- Dementia-specific facilities are designed specifically for people with dementia.
There are also two other types of care that can be accessed under particular circumstances:
Transition care is special care given to older people who have been in hospital but require further care after being discharged. Transition care can only be accessed directly from hospital. Transition care provides services such as:
- low-intensity therapy and care
- access to a social worker
- nursing support for basic clinical care
- personal care
Short-term restorative care
Short-term restorative care helps people stay independent by improving their ability to manage everyday tasks, or delay or avoid the need for long-term care. Short-term restorative care is available at home, in the community, in an aged care home or a combination of these three.
You’ll be pleased to know that there are government subsidies available for both Home Care and in an Aged Care Home.
The Australian Government’s Commonwealth Home Support Programme and Home Care Package Program help people live independently in their own home for as long as they can.The federal government also provides a range of subsidies for residents of Aged Care Homes. These subsidies are paid directly to the home.
If you’re considering an Aged Care Home, CareAbout has a free online tool to compare the specialties of different Aged Care Homes and their fees and charges. Or speak to an aged care specialist at CareAbout on 1300 721 855.
More information about subsidies is available in Understanding aged care fees.
My Aged Care – getting assessed
Whether you are seeking Home Care or entering an Aged Care Home, the first step toward finding out exactly what you’re eligible for is to contact the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT or ACAS in Victoria). The assessor, usually a nurse, social worker or other health care professional, will visit you in your home and ask questions to ascertain if you are eligible for:
- Home Care Package
- permanent residential care in an Aged Care Home
- residential respite care
- short-term restorative care
- transition care
and also determine what other services that you may need.
The assessor will ask questions about:
- what support you already have and if that will continue
- your health and lifestyle and any health concerns
- how you are going with completing daily tasks and activities around the home
- if you have problems with your memory
- any issues relating to home and personal safety
- family and community engagement.
The assessor will then develop a support plan that will set out the care and services that will best help you and if the services are ongoing or short term.
Get started now
Navigating the aged care system in Australia can appear daunting. Don’t let that stop you taking the vital first step. Get in touch with CareAbout and find out what your options are. CareAbout can match the right care for your individual circumstances.
While the system is not perfect, it continues to move in the right direction, with increasing awareness that everyone’s needs are different.