Starting the journey into aged care can often seem like a confusing and daunting process, particularly if it’s not something you’ve experienced before. It can be tempting to put it into the too-hard basket, and adopt an “I’ll think about it later” mindset – but starting the process as early as possible is a much better idea.
Even if you’re not sure you’re quite ready to make the move into aged care, there are things you can do now to kick off the process. Here are three steps you can take to start the ball rolling.
Find out if you’re eligible by having an aged care assessment with ACAT
Before you can begin the process of applying for aged care, you need to find out if you are eligible for a place in an aged care facility. The first step for assessing your eligibility is to be assessed by either:
- ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) in NSW; or
- ACAS (Aged Care Assessment Services) in Victoria.
Aged care assessment is provided by a team of geriatricians (specialist aged care doctors), community nurses, social workers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. If your circumstances and needs determine that you’re eligible for a free assessment, you’ll then be assessed in your home by a specially trained assessor, or in hospital if you have been admitted. Your assessor will ask you questions and discuss your care needs with you or your family members/carers.
Once the assessment is complete, your assessor will make a formal decision about the level of care you require, and will recommend if you need residential aged care or care in your home.
To organise an assessment, you’ll need to contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422; or you can now apply for an assessment online. To do so, you (or someone acting on your behalf) will need to fill out a new online form available on the My Aged Care website here.
For a more in-depth look at the process of entering an aged care facility, click here.
Plan your finances
You also need to get your financial ducks in line before you proceed too far into the aged care application process. There are two different types of aged care costs you’ll be expected to pay – accommodation fees and care fees. Exactly how much you will pay and how will depend on your individual circumstances.
The Australian Government subsidises aged care homes to ensure the cost is affordable for everyone. You are also expected to contribute to the cost of your accommodation and care if you can afford to do so.
To determine your eligibility for government assistance, you’ll have to undergo an income and assets assessment. To apply for your assessment, call the Department of Human Services on 1800 227 475 or visit their website to fill out an assessment form here.
Once this is completed, you’ll have a much better idea of your financial position in the future. At this point, it’s also wise to consult a financial professional for expert advice and guidance on how you can meet your financial obligations.
Start this process early as it can take some time, so that you have your finances in order when the time comes to make the move into aged care.
Find a residential aged care facility that works for you
There are many options for residential aged care, and it can feel overwhelming trying to decide which one is right for you. Different aged care facilities offer different services and levels of care, so it’s important to find one which works best for your individual situation.
The best way to determine this is to make a shortlist of facilities in areas you would like to live, and visit each facility to get a feel for the place and determine what services and care they offer. This may seem somewhat time-consuming, but the end result will be worth it once you find the right home for you. Just make sure you contact each facility to make a time to visit. To find a list of facilities in your region, call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or use the My Aged Care Finder.
Once at the facility, make sure you discover the types of care, services and activities offered, and whether the facility is equipped to meet your individual needs. Also find out the costs of care, services and accommodation, as well as what the accommodation and facilities are like. Ask as many questions as you can and note down the answers, so that you’ll be able to accurately compare facilities later. Use your visit wisely so that you really get a feel for the centre and what they can offer you – and most importantly, to find out whether you’d be happy living there.
For more on how to choose an aged care facility that’s right for you, click here.
To arrange an appointment to view Finley’s facilities, contact us on 02 5504 6508.
Once you have completed all these steps, you can then begin the process of applying to enter your chosen aged care facility – when you’re ready.