You’re getting older – and starting to think about aged care. But where do you start? Can anyone access aged care services? How do you find out what’s available – and what you are eligible to access?
Here’s how your aged care journey begins.
Start with a self-assessment
To determine if you’re eligible for Australian aged care services, head to the My Aged Care website to check your eligibility: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/am-i-eligible. This quick and simple self-assessment will determine if you’re eligible for an aged care assessment, and will only take a few minutes to complete.
According to My Aged Care, you may be eligible to receive government-subsidised aged care services if:
- You’ve noticed a change in what you can do or remember
- You’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition or reduced mobility
- You’ve experienced a recent fall or hospital admission
- You’ve experienced a change in family care arrangements
Decide what type of care you need
Depending on your levels of health, mobility and independence, there are a number of different types of care you can access. These include:
- Short term or respite care – when you need a bit of help in an unusual circumstance, such as after a stay in hospital, or if your regular carer is taking a holiday.
- Home care – support provided in your own home if you are not ready to move into an aged care facility yet, but need a certain level of assistance to remain in your own home. Home care services can help you with personal care, domestic chores, home maintenance, cooking, nursing care and transport.
- Residential aged care – residential accommodation and health care for people who cannot remain living in their own homes any longer.
Determining which type of care you want to access is your first step on the aged care journey.
Head online and apply for an assessment
My Aged Care is the place to apply for whichever type of care you wish to access. If the self-assessment tool has shown that you’re eligible for an assessment, simply go here to apply for one online: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/assessment/how-apply-assessment. The
process is quick and easy, and should take no more than 15 – 20 minutes to complete. You’ll have to answer questions about your current situation and what you need help with, provide your personal details (including your Medicare card information) and arrange the assessment. And you can apply to be assessed for all types of care and support on the one form, including short-term care, help at home and care in an aged care home.
Or apply for an assessment on the phone
If you’re not confident in your ability to apply online, or would just prefer to speak to someone in person, you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422, and the My Aged Care staff will talk to you about your circumstances and needs, and make the application for you. They will also be able to help find the best options for you.
Undergo an assessment
After submitting the online form, or applying on the phone, an aged care assessor will contact you within two to six weeks to arrange your assessment. You will be assessed in your home by a member of your local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), who will talk to you about your current situation and any concerns you have. You are welcome to have a family member, friend or carer with you for this assessment.
Receive the assessment outcome
Once the assessment is complete, your assessor will make a formal decision about your care needs, and the level of care you require. You will receive a letter, either of approval for care or one which provides reasons why you were not approved for care services.
Find a provider
Depending on the outcome of your assessment, you can then begin the process to access the services you need. First, you’ll need to find a provider – whether that be for respite care, a home care package or residential aged care. The My Aged Care ‘Find a Provider’ tool is the best place to start: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/find-a-provider.
Have a look at Finley Regional Care, a care home in the Riverina region of NSW that provides a high standard of quality care that is person-centred, progressive and comprehensive, here: https://www.finleyregionalcare.com.au
Click here to read more about why you should start your aged care planning early: https://www.finleyregionalcare.com.au/why-you-should-start-aged-care-planning-early/