Under the government’s My Aged Care program, all older Australians have access to subsidised support services, designed to help them live at home, safely, comfortably and independently, for as long as possible.
Under the program, the funding is divided into three broad categories:
Care services that keep you independent and safe in your own home, social support and well-being services.
Living independently and safely at home
Under your Home Care Package, you can use a portion of your budget to pay for various home maintenance jobs, as well as some minor modifications to your home to improve safety and access.
This may include organising for someone to help you with basic chores around the home, including your garden, as well as making some practical changes to your home to make it easier to get around and minimise the risk of falls and other accidents.
What’s included under Home Maintenance services?
Depending on the level of your Home Care Package and the amount of funds in your budget, there are plenty of jobs around the home you can get help with.
Minor jobs may include changing light globes; replacing smoke alarm batteries; replacing fly screens; repairs to gates and fencing; minor electrical and plumbing works, such as replacing tap washers or installing quarter lever taps. Gardening is also included under this Home Care Package category and this can include lawn mowing, garden tidy up and rubbish removal.
Major home maintenance may include jobs such as: replacing a hot water service or installing a heating/cooling system.
What about permanent modifications to my home?
As you age and are not as mobile as you once were, you may need to make some changes to how your home is currently set up so you can continue to live safely and comfortably. For example, as you age, stairs may become a challenge, or you may need to widen doorways for wheelchair access.
Under your Home Care Package, you can pay for certain modifications that address these issues. For example, installing rails and ramps at entrances, modifying your bathroom to ensure safety and ease of use, even concreting a pathway to minimise the risk of falls.
How do I know what jobs can be included under my Package?
As long as any home maintenance or modifications are related to your care needs, you are entitled to access and pay for them through your Package. If you’re not sure whether something can be included, speak to your Home Care Provider. As aged care specialists, they can help you understand your package, and, if necessary, advocate on your behalf if a specific maintenance or home modification request requires more senior approval. It’s also important these requests are clearly set out in the care plan you write up with your care provider.
You may also need to speak to your doctor about any concerns you have living at home and ask them to review your care needs. They may also be able to advocate on your behalf to ensure the outcome supports your needs and goals.
How do I organise for work to be carried out?
Talk to your Home Care Provider about who will be carrying out the work. They generally have their own list of licensed trades people and can arrange them to come to your home. However, if you prefer to use your own maintenance person, you are perfectly entitled to. They just need to be registered with an Australian Business Number (ABN) and able to provide an invoice.