Finding the right residential care home for your senior years can be challenging, considering how many different choices and options are out there. While there is a process to follow in how you enter an aged care home, one of the most important steps is the decision as to where you will live. This is a step that can’t be rushed, as different aged care facilities offer different care and services, and finding the one that will work best for you is essential. Aged care facilities can definitely improve the quality of life for older Australians (click here to find out how) but not all are made equal.
The best way to determine whether a home will suit you is to visit a few different places and get a feel for the home and check if they offer the services and care you require.
- The types of care, services and activities offered
- What the accommodation and facilities are like
- The cost of accommodation
- The cost of care and services
- Whether they are equipped to meet your individual needs
To find aged care facilities in your local area, click on the My Aged Care finder here, or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. Once you’ve made a shortlist, contact each provider individually to arrange a suitable time to visit each one. To arrange an appointment with Finley Regional Care, call 02 5504 6508.
What to take on a visit:
- Your assessment letter from ACAT, containing your referral code details and the type of services you need
- If you have the outcome of a financial assessment from DHS, take your fee notification letter
- A list of the things that are important to you in an aged care facility
- A notepad to take notes on what you like or don’t like and your impressions of the staff and the environment, to ensure you correctly remember each visit
Questions to ask on a visit:
- What type of care services are and are not provided? What services will I need to pay for?
- Can you help me with my medical needs such as help with taking medication or wound care?
- Can you meet my individual needs? These may include language and culture, religious beliefs, sexuality or gender identity, pets and access to medical visits.
- What are the meal arrangements? These include seating, times, menus, visitors, meals in your room and special diets.
- How do you ensure my privacy?
- How are social and cultural activities decided? How are my interests taken into account?
- What transport can I access for visiting shops, family and friends or medical appointments? How much will this cost?
- What training do the care staff have? Will I have accessto qualified nurses if and when I need them?
- How many staff provide care overnight?
- How can my partner, family and friends be involved in my care? Can they stay overnight if needed?What if I want to stay with family members overnight?
- Can you arrange appointments and access to health services? Can I continue to see my own GP and other health practitioners?
- What checks are in place to ensure quality services?
- How did the home perform in its accreditation audit?
- What are you doing to improve the quality of care and services?
- What areas are you working on improving and what results have you seen?
- How do you involve older people, their families and carers in decisions or making quality improvements?
- Will I ever be asked to leave the aged care home or change rooms?
This is just a starting point – there are many more questions you might wish to ask. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – use your visit to really get a feel for the centre you are considering and to discuss the variety of activity and care options they have available.
Try before you buy
If you’d like to take it one step further and try the centre in a little more depth before making your decision, you could consider a short respite stay.
Respite enables people to stay for a short time in an aged care facility, on a funded break. This is a great way to give carers a much-needed break, and for you to see what the facility is really like. You’ll get a much better sense of the standard of care, as well as the staff, other residents, activities and meals. You may decide that this is the place for you, or you may also decide that you want to keep looking. Either way, it’s a great option to help you make an informed decision, so is well worth considering if you or your carers have a need for respite care.
Remember that you have choices
If you start your aged care planning early (and here’s some great reasons why you should) you’ll have plenty of time to consider your options and make a choice you’re happy and satisfied with. And remember that the choice is yours – you don’t have to settle for the first home you see, or the one that is most convenient. It’s your life, and you have the right to make the most of it. Like most things in life, doing your research helps, so start your planning early and you’ll be able to find an aged care centre that meets all your needs and allows you to live the life you desire for as long as possible.
Wondering how to transition and settle into aged care once you’ve made your choice? Read this article to find out.