Many Australian seniors choose to live at home for as long as they can, rather than move into residential aged care.
Here are four ways to manage care so that your senior loved one is well supported to live happily at home.
Government-subsidised Home Care Packages
Home Care Packages provide help at home for thousands of Australian seniors. Funded by the Australian Government, each Home Care Package allocates an annual amount of money to pay for individualised support services delivered in the home.
Home Care Packages are assessed according to individual care needs and are subject to an assets and income test. Home Care Package funds are allocated across four levels, spanning help with basic daily tasks at level one, up to management of more complex care needs at level four.
Services can include housework and gardening, shopping, meal preparation, personal care, assistance with transport, social connections, and nursing care.
Read more about Home Care Packages:
Who is eligible for a Home Care Package?
To be eligible for a Home Care Package you must be 65 years or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people) and require some help to live independently at home.
My Aged Care’s eligibility checker helps you to quickly see whether you meet the requirements before applying for a Home Care Package.
How do I apply for a Home Care Package?
Government organisation My Aged Care coordinates Home Care Packages. A member of their Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will interview you to evaluate your physical and mental health, and how you are managing at home.
You can apply to have an ACAT assessment online: How to apply for an assessment | My Aged Care or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Read more about ACAT assessments, how they work, and the timings involved:
The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)
The CHSP is another government-subsidised home support program that offers entry-level home care services for seniors. Most people accessing CHSP only require one or two services to help them to live independently.
Read more about the CHSP: All about CHSP – the Commonwealth Home Support Program (agedcaredecisions.com.au)
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Private home care services
If you are not eligible for a Home Care Package or the CHSP – or if you are waiting for your funding to be assigned – private in-home care service providers can deliver a range of support services in the home.
There are hundreds of non-government-funded home care service providers in Australia, offering help with gardening, cleaning, transport, and health and therapy services.
Regular, informal assistance, care and support with daily tasks can be undertaken by family members, close friends, neighbours, or acquaintances. Informal care can be paid, but it is often given on a voluntary basis by a loved one.
Some informal carers may be eligible for government benefits.
Services Australia (Centrelink), My Aged Care and the Australian Government’s Carer Gateway all offer helpful support services and resources for people caring for their loved ones.
Read more about the support available for carers:
Live in care
In increasing number of Australian seniors are moving in with their children, for a variety of reasons including safety, comfort, convenience, and finances.
Providing live in care can have many positives, but it’s important to consider the following issues when deciding to move your loved one into your home:
Care needs: What kind of care do they need, and how much time (and skill) can be devoted to their care needs?
Safety: Are any renovations or home modifications required to accommodate their comfort and care needs?
Relationships: What are the likely affects on relationships within your family?
Changing dynamics: How will caregiving adjust daily household routines?
Networks: Will your loved one be able to socialise and avoid isolation after the move?
Finances: How much, if any, will they contribute to household expenses?
If you need some extra help, you may be able to access financial support via the Carers Payment, Carers Allowance, and Carers Supplement.
Read more about Carers Payment:
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