In a bid to support senior Australians wishing to age in place, grants of over $50,000 will be made available by June 2023 to help older Australians maintain independence.
Over 275,000 home care packages will be made available to eligible seniors over the age of 65 (over 50 for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders) through an application with the Commonwealth Government Home Care Package.
CEO of home care provider Five Good Friends, Simon Lockyer, said the funding will vary depending on the level of care needed.
“There is funding starting from around $9,000, up to $53,000 a year. These packages help eligible older Australians live safely and independently in their own homes,” Lockyer said.
“As everyone’s care needs differ, there are four levels of home care packages and cover off basic support needs through to those with high-care needs.”
The levels of care and their funding packages are as follows:
The level of care needed for each individual is decided by an Australian Government My Aged Care assessment.
Lockyer said seniors considering the home care packages should get their applications in sooner rather than later, as wait times for assessment results may vary.
“Depending on which service you’re suited to and where you live it can take up to 12 weeks to have your aged care needs assessed. In urgent situations, an assessment can be organised within 48 hours,” Lockyer said.
“However, it currently can take up to six months to establish eligibility and which home care package funding is available to you, and we expect these wait times to lengthen as demand grows.
“Research proves, for every hour of home care service a person receives, it reduces the risk of entry into residential care by six per cent.
“It’s a good idea to get into the system now because if the level of care you need now is low, you can request a change to the package level at any time if your circumstances change.”
The funding is expected to make a considerable difference to those hoping to avoid having to go into care, as the ongoing national housing crisis locks “more and more Australians out of” their wish to age in the comfort of their own home.
Anglicare Australia recently surveyed 500 older people across Australia as part of their Ageing in Place: Home and Housing for Australia’s Older Renters report and found that the cost of housing is the “biggest barrier to ageing at home”.
Among the many alarming statistics, the report found that for a couple on the age pension, only 1.4 per cent of rental properties were affordable. Of those surveyed, 87 per cent hope to stay in their home as they get older, however, 72 per cent claimed cost was a barrier to being able to age at home.
Only 46 per cent of renters said their home is suitable for an older person.
Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers stressed that “everyone should be able to live life to the fullest as they get older. For most people, that means ageing in their own home”.
“But the housing crisis is locking more and more Australians out of that dream. Almost 70 per cent of renters in our survey said that cost is the biggest barrier to ageing at home,” Chambers said.
“Others are worried about security. We interviewed people who were forced to move, accept changes to their lease, and were afraid of being evicted. This is at a time of life when stability is more important than ever.”