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Are your parents not quite ready for residential aged care?

Are your parents not quite ready for residential aged care?

The thought of having to move into residential aged care when it becomes difficult to manage everyday tasks at home can be overwhelming for the individual and their family.

However, this may not be necessary or even the best option. Enabling a person to remain in the familiar surroundings of the family home is often a more favourable arrangement as it can allow the individual to maintain a sense of independence and control over their choices. If your parents need more assistance, or if it is something you need to consider for yourself in the not-too-distant future, this article may help.

An alternative to residential aged care

Home care can help the individual be independent in their own home for as long as possible. As everyone’s needs and circumstances are different, a range of home care services are available to consider and a financial adviser is well placed to go through the options with you.

The first step

The first thing to do when considering aged care support is to register with My Aged Care. From there, they will help you access a home support assessment with a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) if you need low level support to remain independent in your home. If you require access to a Home Care package, you will be referred to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).

Types of home care available

Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)

(Home and Community Care (HACC) Program in WA)

As people age they may see themselves as totally independent, but in need of some help with weekly tasks. Through this service they can get assistance with meal preparation, housework, shopping or transport to appointments.

This assistance is subsidised and regulated by the government to try and keep the care affordable, and you do not need to undergo an income assessment. To access the service, an assessment is conducted to determine eligibility and the services required. To be eligible for this type of support, the individual must be at least 65 years of age and must contribute to the cost of services if they have sufficient financial resources to do so.

Home Care Packages (HCP) Program

If the CHSP is not suitable or becomes unable to meet higher level care needs, a Home Care Package may be accessed.

This program provides additional care services to meet more specific and complex care needs. The services are tailored and co-ordinated to meet individual requirements.

There are four levels of HCP with a subsidy provided by government at different rates based on the level of care needed.

Level 1 – basic care needs such as household shopping, socialisation and housework.

Level 2 – low-level care needs such as personal care and meal preparation.

Level 3 – intermediate care needs such as assistance with medication and incontinence support.

Level 4 – high-level care needs for individuals with conditions such as dementia or mobility issues.

In consultation with the individual and their family, a government approved home care provider will formulate an appropriate Care Plan to meet specific care needs, providing more control over the services. 

To be eligible for this service, the individual must be an older person requiring co-ordinated services to remain in their home. If approved, an amount of money will be paid directly to the chosen Home Care provider, by the government, with the individual contributing towards the cost of care.

Private Care

There are various private organisations that provide nursing care and other services within the home. They are not subsidised or regulated by government, and vary in price and services offered. For example, some organisations provide 24-hour nursing care within the home, while others offer gardening, housework, shopping and meal preparation.

Palliative Care Support Program – end of life care at home

Many people wish to spend their last days in the familiar surroundings of home with family and friends, rather than in a hospital or hospice. To support this choice, the Palliative Care Support Program was established to provide end of life care in the home, focusing on support of the patient and their family. It attends to the physical, psychosocial and spiritual concerns of those involved.

Accessing a home care package

If any of these options sound like something you would like to explore further it is worth having a conversation with a financial adviser who can explain the options, involve family in the conversation, and start the assessment process for eligibility and government support.

If this is something you are considering for yourself in the future, now is the time to get your finances sorted so you can take advantage of any Centrelink benefits, government assistance or program eligibility. It is never too early to know what options exist and what you can do now to reap the benefits in the future.

Did you know?

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