It can feel overwhelming trying to navigate community aged care services, but it is important to know you are not alone! Some common questions and answers, including resources are below. Remember that your GP, geriatrician, or community allied health member (social work, etc) are available to assist if needed.
Asking for help is not admitting defeat! – it is simply acknowledging your limitations!
How do you access community aged care services?
The first step in accessing government-funded aged care services is by getting assessed. To be eligible you need to be 65 years or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people).
This is done through ‘MyAgedCare’. You can contact MyAgedCare on 1800 200 422 or visiting the website www.myagedcare.gov.au
What happens after you apply for an assessment via My Aged Care?
You will either be referred to the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) or the Aged Care assessment team (ACAT).
A RAS assessor is trained in identifying the best aged care services you will benefit from, as well as refer you on to Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services you require. This is entry level support and provides basic assistance to continue living independently at home.
ACAT assessments are more comprehensive and assess for a home care package and if you are considering moving into an Aged Care Home.
There are four home care package levels and the time frames to be assigned a package can range between 3-6 months. The national priority system helps to distribute Home Care Packages fairly. You are prioritised based on the date you were approved for care and the level of care you need. Usually the ACAT team will also assess for CHSP services while waiting for a package to ensure you are getting some support during that waiting period.
Once approved for either CHSP services or a HCP you must find a provider. You can do this by contacting My Aged Care or visiting their website : https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/find-a-provider/.
What types of services can you access?
There is a wide variety of services and support that can accessed based on an individual’s care needs. This could include:
- Personal care (showering, dressing)
- Allied health (podiatry, physiotherapy, occupational therapy)
- Nursing (wound care management, medications)
- Assistance with incontinence
- Social support (day trips, social interactions)
- Domestic assistance (home and garden maintenance, cleaning)
- Food and meal preparation
Who pays for services?
The Australian Government contributes to the cost of aged care services. However, if you can afford it you may need to contribute to the cost. This will depend on:
- Your financial situation
- The number and types of services you receive
- The service provider
Where can I find further information?
The MyAgedCare website has some excellent resources about accessing community aged care services. Visit the website at www.myagedcare.gov.au
We have included some common resources utilised below:
Find the Help you need with MyAgedCare
After you’ve registered with MyAgedCare
Your guide to Commonwealth Home Support Programme services
Your guide to Home Care Package services