Australia’s population is rapidly ageing, and many of us will require care as we reach our later years. The landscape of aged care is changing from what we used to know however, and there are many more choices available to today’s older Australians than there were in the past. One of the biggest changes in recent times is the shift from residential to community-based care; a shift which is facilitated by technology. In the past, it was automatically assumed that once you started to need help, you would go and live in a residential facility; but nowadays this is far from the case.
Older people today want more choice and options in aged care. As well as the expertise of the aged care provider, they want more control, more flexibility and more independence. These days, aged care providers are seen as a partner in someone’s aged care, rather than a commander or autocrat.
So, what options are available to older Australians once they start to require care?
Most aged care starts with family care – where an older person’s increasing care needs are met with assistance from family, friends or neighbours. This type of care is very common, with around three quarters of older people utilising this type of help and support.
In recent times, more and more older Australians are now living in multigenerational households, with around one in four people living with multiple generations of relatives. The over-65s is now the fastest growing age group in multigenerational households, mainly due to financial pressures, plus the ability to stay connected with family and enjoy companionship and support. Around 9% of people aged over 80 live with relatives other than a spouse, and this number is projected to increase significantly over the next few years.
This has benefits for both the elderly person and the family, as it allows for free childcare and for grandchildren to spend more time with their grandparents. As well, the older person is able to have their care needs met in a situation they are more comfortable, secure and familiar with. They can enjoy the closeness of family, along with some measure of independence and freedom.
This type of care works well and allows for some significant benefits when the level of care needed by the older person is quite low. Once care needs become greater, families generally need to look at a higher level of assisted support.
Supported in-home care
If family help is not enough and more support is needed, supported in-home care is the next option. With advancements in medical science, people are living longer and are also healthier as they get older, meaning they want to live in their own home for longer. Modern technology is assisting older people to live at home for longer where they can be independent, but also safe and cared for. They are in charge of their own care, and for many people this is an attractive proposition.
The Australian government has two main programs which help support older people to stay in their homes for longer:
- The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP),providing elderly people with entry-level support such as meal deliveries, personal care, home maintenance and home modifications.
- Home Care Packages, offering a more co-ordinated level of care that provides similar essential services based on individual needs. There are four level of Home Care Packages for different care and support needs, and each level receives a different amount of government funding. Home Care Packages generally cater for more complex needs.
To access this support, you must be:
- Aged 65 or older(or 50 and older if you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander). You may be eligible at a younger age if you are on a low income or at risk of becoming homeless.
- Assessed by the government as needing support. Assessments are carried out by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), referred through My Aged Care.
The Federal Government will subsidise some or all of the cost of this type of care, although you will usually be required to contribute some of the cost yourself. The CHSP is not income-tested; however the amount of your contribution to Home Care Packages will depend on your income and the level of package you are accessing.
The final option for aged care is residential care, involving a move to an aged care facility. For those who need high or round-the-clock levels of care, residential care is the option of choice. Residential facilities provide nursing and clinical care, as well as help with cleaning, meals, laundry and personal care. They also provide physically, mentally and socially stimulating activities in which residents can participate. They usually provide home-style accommodation, and a wide range of facilities and services.
Residential care provides great peace of mind for elderly people needing greater levels of support and assistance, as all their care needs can be adequately provided for.
Finley Regional Care provides high quality care via a team who are dedicated to the health, comfort and happiness of their clients in a nurturing and positive environment. Contact us here to find out how we can take care of all your needs.
To find out what constitutes quality in aged care, click here.
A combination of care types?
There may not be one solution for everyone when it comes to aged care – and the best care for you may involve a combination of care types. You may be cared for by a family member, plus access the CHSP. You may be using a Home Care Package while taking part in respite care at an aged care facility. There are choices available to suit each individual, and you can tailor your aged care to best suit your needs and wants. It’s not a matter of one-size-fits-all – you really need to consider your needs, your resources and your options and find an aged care solution that really works for you.
Click here to discover three simple steps to getting started in aged care.
It’s important to start planning for your aged care early – read more here.