As our loved ones get older, we often need to consider additional care. The process can be complex and emotional, especially when navigating the financial implications. Understanding the options and costs is crucial for making informed decisions and ensuring your loved one receives the best possible care.
Determine the Best Care Option
There are many reasons to consider either in-home care or a residential facility. The first step in understanding what would be best for you is to arrange an assessment via the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). This is done by contacting My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or by applying online at www.myagedcare.gov.au.
My Aged Care is a government service which provides information on aged care, undertakes assessments relating to care needs, and helps those in need access services.
In-home care has four levels of care which vary between 1.5 hours per week up to 11 hours per week, depending on your needs. Short-term care is also available. You may also be able to access services to make home improvements to make it easier to continue to live independently.
Residential aged care is for seniors who can no longer live in their own home. It includes accommodation and personal care, as well as access to nursing and general health care services.
Understanding the Costs of Aged Care in Australia
Aged care costs can vary widely depending on the level of care required and the provider. The government provides funding options for people requiring in-home care or for those moving into residential aged care. These include a means-tested subsidy for residential aged care.
In-home care The Government covers most of the cost of care but depending on your income, your provider may ask you to contribute towards the cost of delivering your services. Your assets, including the family home, are excluded from the means testing arrangements for home care.
Residential aged care Fees will vary depending on the quality and location of the aged care provider, and an assessment of your income and assets. There are four types of fees a resident may have to pay:
- Daily fee: paid by all residents and covers costs such as meals, laundry, and personal care. The maximum daily fee is $58.98.
- Means-tested care fee: may be payable depending on an evaluation of income and assets. Caps are in place and more information can be found here.
- Accommodation fee: covers the cost of the room and the facilities. It can be a lump sum deposit payment, a daily amount or a combination of both. You may be able to negotiate a higher bond refund.
- Extra Services fee: an additional fee for extra services such as specialised care or services.
You can get an idea of costs by using the fee estimator on the My Aged Care website. This site allows you to input your information and is very easy to use.
Maximising Aged Care Benefits
There are ways to maximise the benefits of aged care, such as reducing charges by managing assets or finding an aged care provider with more manageable costs. It’s essential to regularly reassess care and financial arrangements to ensure you, or your loved one, receives adequate care and accommodations whilst not incurring unnecessary financial costs.
Seeking professional advice, regularly reassessing care and accommodation arrangements, and maximising any government benefits available are useful strategies to help manage costs. With the right planning and guidance, you can ensure your loved one receives the best possible care whilst avoiding unnecessary financial burdens.