How does aged care work in Australia?

Aged care refers to the range of services and support provided to older individuals who may need assistance due to ageing, illness, or disability. The goal of aged care is to help older Australians maintain their independence and quality of life as much as possible while receiving the necessary care and support. Aged care can include:

  • help with everyday living
  • assistive equipment and home modifications 
  • personal care and health care 
  • accommodation. 

There are four main types of aged care services:

  1. Care in your home
  2. Residential care in aged care homes
  3. Short-term care
  4. Retirement villages/retirement homes

1. Care in your home

In-home aged care provides support to help you stay independent for as long as possible. It can help with personal care, transport, food preparation, shopping, housework, physio and therapy, social activities, and home modifications.

2. Residential care in aged care homes

Residential care in aged care (nursing) homes is for older people who:

  • can no longer live at home
  • need ongoing help with everyday tasks or health care.

Aged care homes provide 24-hour care and access to nursing and general health care services.

Residential care can be short-term (respite care) or permanent.

3. Short-term care

Short-term care can help you improve your wellbeing and independence or get back on your feet after a hospital stay. It can also give you or your carer a break.

You can receive short-term services in your home, an aged care home or in the community.

4. Retirement villages (or retirement homes)

Retirement villages are an option if you do not need the higher level of care offered by aged care homes. The costs of retirement homes are not subsidised by the government – you need to pay the full cost yourself.

Click here to read about retirement homes to find out how they work.

How do you access aged care services?

There are four steps to accessing government-funded aged care

1. Check your eligibility

You may be eligible if you have:  

  • noticed a change in what you can do or remember 
  • been diagnosed with a medical condition or reduced mobility 
  • experienced a change in family care arrangements, or 
  • experienced a recent fall or hospital admission. 

2. Apply for an assessment

Once you think you might be eligible for government-funded care, you can apply for an assessment via the MyAgedCare website.

3. Get assessed

The aged care assessment process starts with a trained assessor calling you to arrange a time to visit you at home. Once there, they will discuss your circumstances and needs and work with you to identify what services might suit you best.

4. Find a provider

Once you know your needs, the next step is to identify the right provider for your needs and understand the costs, before finalising your care services.

Getting aged care advice

As you can see, accessing aged care services in Australia is quite a process. The most common mistake people make with aged care is not planning for it in advance but rather waiting until circumstances dictate it is needed. Waiting until this point puts everyone involved under unnecessary pressure—both the older people requiring aged care and their children. If you start planning for aged care support before you or your parents need it, it can significantly reduce the chance of decisions being influenced by the three ‘Gs’: grief, guilt and greed.

HPH Solutions is proud to have an advisor who specialises in Aged Care Advice and can help you plan in advance for your, or your parents’ aged care needs. For guidance through the questions and concerns you and your family have regarding aged care financial advice, call us on (08) 9200 3123 or email [email protected]

Information on this website is of a general nature only and has not taken into account your particular circumstances.  Before making any decision to act, you should consider whether the strategies are suitable for your personal situation and needs.

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