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Planning for Aged Care

Taking the step to move to Aged Care can be a draining one, emotionally, physically and financially. To make the transition as stress-free as possible, it is important to fully understand your needs and options. Some issues you’ll likely need to consider as you begin planning a move into Aged Care include the actual level of assistance required and the costs of moving into a care facility.

In order to determine how much care is actually required and what you qualify for, you need to arrange for an assessment from a local Aged Care Assessment Services (ACAS) member.  An assessment from an ACAS member is free and typically performed by a nurse, social worker or other health care professional. During the assessment, a series of questions will be asked so as to gain a solid understanding of how well a person is managing on a daily basis. A discussion will also be held to determine the additional support that might be required. Based on this assessment, you will be provided with a written outcome of the assessment. This letter will outline the services you can receive with a specification of why they believe this service best suits your needs. You can organise an ACAS assessment by calling My Aged Care at 1800 200 422 or directly contacting your local ACAS service (click here to search for your local ACAS).

The Types of Care

There are three types of services that one can be approved for. These consist of home care, residential care and respite.

Home care involves four potential options (depending on the level of assistance required) in which you continue to live in the home, and assistance comes to you, as per a schedule of services.

Residential care is a long-term stay in a residential care facility, providing complete care.

Respite, the third option, is designed to give a carer or the care recipient a break from the usual arrangement and stay at a residential care facility. Respite can be utilised for up to 63 days per year. One benefit of respite is that it can be used as a trial period, where you can test out a residential care facility and determine whether or not it is the right fit if you chose to move to residential care permanently.

If moving into care is the right option, it is a good idea to begin researching and speaking with facilities as much and as early as possible. This is because, in nearly 70% of cases, it takes over one month to move into a care facility after being approved by ACAS. Beginning the discussions early helps significantly reduce transition time.

The Cost of Care

Given the different levels of care provided by home care services and residential facilities, the fees for the two are not the same. The table below provides a general guideline of what to expect regarding their fees.

Type of feeHome careResidential Care
Basic Daily Care Fee$10.10 per day$49.07 per day
Means tested FeesIncome Test OnlyIncome and Assets Test
Accommodation / Entry FeeNoYes

Respite fees are a bit more complicated than home care and residential care because respite is meant to be used on a short-term basis. While in respite, you will be charged a basic daily care fee of $49.07 per day (same as residential care). You may also be charged a booking fee upon entry to the facility, but this won’t cost more than a week’s worth of the basic daily care fee. An accommodation fee or a means-tested fee is not applicable for respite care.

Remember to Update Centrelink

When making a move, like changing Aged Care situations, it is important to keep Centrelink in the know.  Changes in your circumstances should be notified within 14 days. A change could affect your applicable fees, pension entitlements and applicable Carer payments.

Want a Better Idea of your Fees?

We’ve created a simple and easy to use form to help you discover the fees and understand your options. Click here to learn more.

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