Aged care is a vital service in our community. You might instantly think “nursing home” when you hear the words ‘aged care’, but it’s much more than that. There are 3 levels of care:
Help at home care
This is where someone comes to your home and provides services like cleaning, cooking, gardening and shopping. They may also provide personal care like bathing, helping you dress and get in and out of bed.
This is someone to help you for a short period of time. For example when you are recovering after a hospital stay or when your regular carer is on leave.
Aged care homes
These provide support and care for those who are no longer able to live independently at home, even with the help at home described above. Aged care facilities provide a wide range of care, from residents living in independent apartments in a facility and having cleaning and meals provided for them, through to high care nursing support for people who can no longer take care of themselves in any respect.
While having so many different levels of service means people now are more likely to stay in their own home, living independently, for longer than they might have 20 or 30 years ago, it means that working out and planning costs and requirements for you (or for your aged parents) can be very confronting.
Where do you start with aged care?
The Australian Government’s My Aged Care website is loaded with information. It’s easy to navigate with clear links and menus.
Through the MyAgedCare site (https://www.myagedcare.gov.au), you can discover more about the levels of services, how different services might work together for you (such as temporary support in one area and ongoing support in another), how to check your eligibility and how to get an assessment and apply.
If you (or your friend or relative) isn’t comfortable searching on the internet, they have a phone line open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm on Saturday. The number is 1800 200 422.
They also offer face-to-face support in some dedicated Services Australia service centres (COVID-permitting). Call 1800 227 475 to find out if there is an Aged Care Specialist Officer near you and to book a time.
They also offer information in 22 languages, can work with interpreters or representatives, they link to the National Relay Service and more.