Starting on your aged care journey can be daunting, and you are likely to have many questions. Understanding what government-subsidised programs are available and your eligibility for these services is a good place to start.
Many government-subsidised programs are available to senior Australians—each designed to support individuals at different stages of their aged care journey.
Help at home
As we age, living independently in our own homes can become challenging. Routine daily tasks may become difficult, and we are faced with the need for help. Asking for help can be difficult, but it does not mean we are losing our independence. On the contrary, getting a little help with daily activities means you can maintain your independence in your home for longer and enables you to focus on your strengths and living a better, safer life.
There are three main categories of services available to help you at home:
- Services to keep you well and independent – including personal care, nursing services, allied health.
- Services to keep you safe in your home – including cleaning, home maintenance and modifications, assistive technology.
- Services to keep you connected to your community – including transport, social support services.
The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) provides entry-level support services to help you improve your health and wellbeing and live independently and safely at home. The program is recommended for those who require one or two services only.
Eligibility for this program is based on your assessed support needs and age:
- 65 years or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people), or
- 50 years or older (45 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) and on a low income, homeless, or at risk of being homeless.
If you are eligible for services under the Commonwealth Home Support Program, you are expected to contribute to the cost of your care and services if you can afford to. The cost depends on the type of support and the provider.
The Home Care Package (HCP) Program provides more complex care and services on an ongoing basis. A Home Care Package is an option if you need a coordinated approach to the delivery of care and support in your home. There are four Home Care Package levels, each reflecting the different level of care and support people need:
- Level 1: basic care needs
- Level 2: low-level care needs
- Level 3: intermediate care needs
- Level 4: high-level care needs
Eligibility for this program is determined during a face-to-face assessment, but you must also be:
- an older person who needs coordinated services to help you stay at home, or
- a younger person with a disability, dementia or have other care needs not met through other specialist services.
Your financial situation will not affect your eligibility, but a financial assessment is required to determine whether you need to contribute to your care.
Short-term care is available for individuals who need additional support and services for a set period only. This may be after a hospital stay or if a regular family carer is taking a holiday. These services aim to assist with activities of daily living and either restore or maintain a level of independence.
Three types of short-term care are available, each with a different purpose:
- Short-term Restorative Care – provides help with daily tasks to delay or avoid long-term care and support services.
- Transition Care – provides help for those who need to recover or regain independence following a hospital stay. Specialised support and services help you “transition” safely from hospital back to your everyday life, avoiding the need for long-term care and support services.
- Respite Care – provides support when you or your regular carer need a short break. Respite care can include in-home respite for a few hours, day respite in the community or short stay respite in an aged care home.
Eligibility for all types of short-term care require a face-to-face assessment, but you may be eligible if you are an older person and:
- you are slowing down mentally, physically, or both.
- you need help with everyday tasks.
- you want to stay independent and without long-term ongoing care arrangements.
- you are a patient in a public or private hospital informed that you are ready for discharge (Transition Care).
- your regular carer cannot provide the care you need or needs to take a break (Respite Care).
If you are eligible for short-term care, you are expected to contribute to the cost of your care and services if you can afford to. The cost depends on the type of support and the level of care and services.
Residential Aged Care
Residential aged care (commonly referred to as a nursing home) provides a range of care options and accommodation for older people who cannot continue living independently in their own homes. This may be for several reasons, including illness, disability, bereavement, emergency circumstances and the changing needs of a carer, family, or friends.
Eligibility for residential aged care is determined during a face-to-face assessment and based on your need. To be eligible, you must be unable to live independently at home and either:
- an older person.
- a younger person with a disability, dementia or other special care needs not met through other specialist services.
Your financial situation will not affect your eligibility for residential aged care, but it will impact the amount you need to pay the facility. An assessment of your income and assets is required to determine basic daily fees, accommodation costs and means-tested care fees.
How can SereneCare help?
SereneCare can provide you with advice and guidance on registering for government-subsidised services and support you through the assessment process. We can also assist you with accessing privately funded services if you do not meet the eligibility criteria.
If you are eligible and approved for a government-subsidised Home Care Package, as an approved provider, SereneCare can assist you in managing your Home Care Package and coordinating your services. We can provide you with as little or as much assistance as you require, and our experienced Care Managers can tailor our input to meet your individual needs, preferences, and goals.
If you are eligible and considering Residential Aged Care, SereneCare can assist you by investigating and recommending residential aged care homes that best meet your needs and preferences. We can then help you visit your preferred home to support the decision-making process; and support your final transition to your new home.
So, call or email SereneCare to discover how we can support you to live safely and independently in your own home or help you transition to residential aged care.
Please Note: Additional information about your eligibility for government-subsidised services can be found at www.myagedcare.gov.au