Moving into an aged care home is usually the last thing on any elderly person’s mind, with many wishing to remain in the comfort of their own home in a community they know and love. Thankfully, in Australia there is the potential to remain in one’s home and receive help through home care, providing the person’s care needs are not too complex.
Even if your parent needs help for their medical condition, that can be provided as part of the Home Care Package (HCP). The HCP is generally offered to those needing a higher level of care and assistance on an ongoing basis, rather than a temporary arrangement.
If this sounds like what your parent needs then you will first need to make contact with My Aged Care. After a short conversation with a team member, you’ll be transferred through to the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
Following this, a skilled assessor will make a visit to your mum or dad’s home to gather some further information about their situation and what can be done to ensure they are still living independently, but are well cared for at the same time.
Here they will determine what level of care your loved one needs, rating them on a scale from one to four, with one being the lowest level of care required and four being the highest. In some cases they may be put onto the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) temporarily, while the government organises funding.
The level of service your parent will receive is based on their health requirements and what is needed to keep them safe and happy in their own home. Level one is designed to cover basic care needs, level two caters for low-level care needs, level three is for those with intermediate care needs and level four covers high-level care needs.
Putting it into perspective, a level one HCP provides approximately $8,200 worth of services per year, rising to approximately $15,000 for a level two, $33,000 for a level three and $50,000 for a level four. If the services required are level four this is when aged care is suggested instead of home care.
Just like other government services, your loved one will need to complete an income and asset test with Centrelink to determine what proportion of their home care costs will be covered by HCP funding. As an example, for those on the full Age Pension with no current source of income, they would generally not have to pay anything towards the service. Meanwhile, the maximum paid is approximately $24 a day.
A smart idea before going down the path of home care is to check if there will be any extra costs involved and just how much they will be. My Aged Care’s online income assessment tool is a handy resource, giving Aussies the chance to see an estimate of the fees involved by answering just three questions.