As you get older, you may find it more and more difficult to take care of day-to-day tasks, and look after your own health. When you are at the point of not being able to live on your own anymore and needing ongoing help, you may need the services provided by an aged care facility.
The aged care system in Australia offers you a range of options to meet your individual care needs. There are three main choices available for older Australians considering moving from independent living to a higher level of care: Home Care, Retirement Living and Residential Aged Care.
Support in the home can be provided if you are not ready to move into an aged care facility but still require a certain level of assistance to remain at home. Services can include transport, help with personal care and domestic chores, home maintenance, cooking and nursing care.
Retirement complexes offer independence and flexibility to older people who don’t need a high level of care but wish to remain in a community where assistance is available if necessary. They are residential, multi-unit complexes that offer a range of support, health and leisure services to people aged over 55 years.
Residential Aged Care
Once known as nursing homes, today’s aged care homes provide residential accommodation and health care for older people who are unable to remain living in their own homes any longer.
Aged care facilities in Australia
Aged care services in Australia can be delivered by government providers, not-for-profit and for-profit providers. Most aged care homes in Australia are funded by the Federal Government to subsidise the costs of the aged care services they provide. All must have the approval of the Australian Government to provide these services, and must meet certain accreditation standards.
Residential aged care homes can provide care on a permanent or short-term basis (known as residential respite care).
Services provided by aged care homes:
- Help with day-to-day tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, gardening and home maintenance. In some cases, many of these tasks are completely carried out for you by staff.
- Help with personal care, such as feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting and exercise.
- Clinical care, such as administration of medication, monitoring of medical or health conditions and wound care, under the supervision of a registered nurse.
Many aged care facilities also offer additional specialist medical and health care, such as palliative care, dementia care, stoma care and rehabilitation and access to therapy services such as speech therapy, physiotherapy and podiatry.
Aged care facilities improve the quality of life for older Australians in many ways – click here to see how.
Questions to consider:
- What goals do you have for your life?
- What is the lifestyle you would prefer?
- How much help will you need in the foreseeable future?
- What is your budget?
- Are you eligible for government subsidies in home care or residential aged care?
- What ongoing fees does each option involve, and what do they cover?
Choosing the right aged care solution is a complicated process, and there are many factors which need time and space to be considered and planned appropriately. These decisions cannot be made effectively in a hurry – so it makes a lot of sense to plan ahead and begin to have an understanding of how the system works, as well as having discussions with your family about your wants and needs. To read more about why you should start aged care planning early, click here.