Aged Care and Home Care
Are you looking to move into aged care, or need some extra help around the home to keep yourself independent? Find information here about what subsidies you may be eligible for, what services are available and where you can find help to navigate the system.
My Aged Care
My Aged Care is a national online and phone-based service. It can help you to find out about aged care and home care services and what services might be best for you. My Aged Care also arranges assessments for government subsidised services. Visit their website or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, Monday to Friday 8 am – 8 pm, Saturday 10 am – 2 pm.
For individual assistance finding your way through My Aged Care you can make an appointment to meet with a trained volunteer in our office. Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT is part of the Aged Care Navigator Trial.
Call 6282 3777 to make your appointment.
Home Care Services
Home care services help you stay independent in your own home for longer. There are many home care products and services available. These can include assistance with:
- personal care
- housework and daily chores, like cooking or cleaning
- transport to appointments or shopping
- home maintenance and gardening
- respite care.
The Australian Government subsidises the cost of home care services through two different programs, the:
- Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), and
- Home Care Package (HCP).
To find out if you are eligible for the programs, you will need to have an assessment. The assessment will work out what level of care you need. You can read more about the assessment process below. For more information on home care services or to find a provider near you, My Aged Care Service Finder or the Aged Care Guide.
Commonwealth Home Support Program
The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) is for older Australians who need a little extra support at home. This program provides a subsidy for one or two services. If you need more help, a Home Care Package may be a better option.
To be eligible you need to be aged:
- 65 or over (50 or over for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people)
- 50 or over and also on a low income, homeless or at risk of being homeless (45 or over for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people).
Home Care Packages
Home Care Packages (HCP) offer higher levels of assistance than the CHSP. The eligibility ages are the same, however, HCPs are for people who need greater or more complex care. There are 4 levels of package available which give different amounts of funding depending on your care needs.
Most HCP are managed by service providers however it is possible to consider managing your own HCP to varying degrees.
The COTA Australia website hosts numerous resources freely available to both providers and consumers to help build a greater understanding and practical knowledge about self-management in home care.
Aged care homes
Aged care homes are also known as ‘nursing homes’ or ‘residential aged care facilities’. They are for older people who can no longer live at home. They provide ongoing help with everyday tasks or health care. Their services can include:
- help with personal hygiene and grooming
- nursing and therapy
- social activities
- day-to-day needs, such as meals and laundry
- help in emergencies.
To access residential aged care or ‘aged care homes’ in Australia you will need to have an assessment to determine the level of support and care you will need. See assessments below, visit My Aged Care or call 1800 200 422 for more information about the process.
Not all aged care homes are subsidised by the Australian Government. Some are privately run and others such as retirement villages or independent living units are not aged care facilities.
Choosing residential care
The My Aged Care website provides a search tool to find approved Aged Care Homes (Residential Aged Care) near you.
The Aged Care Guide offers a database of aged care homes, along with retirement villages and home care services. You can search by name, location or browse all listings. There are also comparator sites available, though use these with caution. They may be funded by providers and may also not list all the options in your area.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is responsible for protecting and enhancing the safety, health, well-being and quality of life for people receiving aged care. The Commission produces reports on accredited aged care services. You can access the accreditation reports online.
Short-term and Respite Care
Short-term care provides temporary care and support. It can be from a few days to a few months at a time. Some subsidies from the government may be available. Services can include:
- assistive technology aids
- nursing, therapy or counselling
- home maintenance
- help with everyday tasks.
Read more about short-term care on the My Aged Care website.
Transition care can help you recover and regain your independence after being in hospital. You can access services for up to 12 weeks at a time. Help can include:
- therapy services
- nursing support
- personal care.
You will be assessed face-to-face in hospital to find out what type of care you can benefit from. Hospital staff can arrange this, or you can contact My Aged Care directly. There may be some fees, depending on your financial situation. Read more about transition care.
‘Respite’ simply means taking a break. It’s important that carers take time for themselves to rest and recharge while respite care services look after the person being cared for.
Respite can be on a planned or emergency basis and includes community-based respite (such as in-home respite and respite at a day centre) and residential respite care (short stays in aged care homes). It provides an opportunity for both people to take a break. Respite can be accessed for a few hours, a few days, or longer depending on the needs, eligibility, and services available in the area.
You will need a free assessment to find out your eligibility for respite care. The cost of respite care will depend on your circumstances and the kind of care you need. The Australian Government may also provide some subsidies.
For emergency respite contact the Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737. Having an emergency care plan makes it easier for someone to take over for the carer in a hurry.
If you are considering moving into an aged care home or accessing help at home and would like subsidised care, you will need to have an assessment. This is done in two stages, either through:
- an initial phone call or online application to determine your eligibility, or
- a face-to-face assessment.
During the phone call, a representative will talk to you about your current situation. They will work out if you are eligible to receive government-subsidised aged care services. The National Relay and Translating and Interpreting Service are available if you need them.
You may then be referred for a face-to-face assessment. There are two types of assessment, including:
- Regional Assessment Service (RAS), for low-level care needs, or
- with the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT/ACAS), for more complex care needs.
Both assessments usually take place in person, in your own home and at a time that suits you. The assessments will find out your care needs and work with you to develop your support plan.
Find out more about the assessment process online or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, Monday to Friday 8 am – 8 pm, Saturday 10 am – 2 pm to start the process.
Support with the process
A friend or a family member can speak to My Aged Care on your behalf by becoming your representative.
You can make an appointment to come into the COTA ACT office to have one of our trained volunteers assist you by phoning 6282 3777.
If you have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact My Aged Care through the National Relay Service.
If you are visually impaired, you can access information through the My Aged Care contact centre staff and My Aged Care assessors. You can also request information in large print or braille by contacting My Aged Care.
If you need information or communication assistance in a language other than English , you can contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) for support to talk to My Aged Care, or you can access information in 22 languages.
Fees and charges
All Australians are expected to contribute to the cost of their care depending on your capacity to pay. Each subsidised aged care program has different fees and charges.
Fees can include:
- fees based on the services you receive
- a basic daily fee
- an income-tested care fee, or
- extra fees not included in your subsidy program or package.
The calculation of fees and services for Home Care Packages and Aged Care Homes can be quite complex. It is recommended that you seek financial advice before making a choice. Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services) offers a free Financial Information Service in several languages which can help you understand the process. You can also call 132 300 for more information.
Financial hardship assistance
Financial hardship assistance is available for people who are unable to pay for their aged care due to unexpected reasons. There are some restrictions on who can receive the assistance, including limits on your assets and income. Read more about the criteria and application process.
Complaints and Advocacy
If you or someone you know are not happy with the aged care service, there are some organisations you can contact.
Aged Care Complaints Commission
You can provide feedback or make a complaint about a service through the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. This can be done by phone, letter or online. Interpreting services are available. Visit their website or call 1800 951 822, Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm, for more information.
ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service
ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) provides free, independent advocacy and information for people with disabilities, older people and their carers in the ACT.
www.adacas.org.au | 6242 5060
ACT Human Rights Commission
Deals with complaints about discrimination, health services and services for older people and their carers.
hrc.act.gov.au | 6205 2222
Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT
COTA ACT is the peak non-government organisation concerned with all issues related to ageing in the ACT.
www.cotaact.org.au | 6282 3777
Support for families and carers
The Carer Gateway provides information and support on services available for carers. Support includes:
- phone counselling
- support groups
- self-guided coaching
- skills courses
- carer respite
- practical help and advice, and
- information about financial support.
To access the Carer Gateway visit the Carer Gateways website carergateway.gov.au. Here you will find resources in several languages.
You can request a call back online or call 1800 422 737. Monday to Friday 8am-6pm. You will then be connected to a Carer Gateway service provider in your area. A trained worker will be available to talk with you and then help you to find services and support to meet your needs.