Frail older people (aged over 65) who are living in the community may be eligible to access support to continue to live at home via several national government-subsidised programs:
The majority of services are focused on providing support for the older person (including those with dementia). However services to support the ‘care relationships’ are also available to support a carers’ capacity to support their frail family member/friend.
For more information contact My Aged Care
1800 200 422 (Mon-Fri 8am – 8pm, Sat 10am – 2pm).
Commonwealth Home Support Program
This program is considered an ‘entry level’ program aimed at people with lower care needs. The Commonwealth Home Support Program can provide older people with support services such as transport, social support, domestic assistance, personal care, home maintenance, meals, home modification, nursing care and can provide their carers with planned respite services. Visit types of respite services to help you decide if they may be beneficial for you and your family member/friend.
Home Care Packages
Older people with more complex needs may be eligible for a Home Care Package. This is where the older person is allocated a budget to purchase a coordinated mix of services to meet their needs. There are currently 4 levels of Home Care Packages based on the needs of the person (ranging from $7,500 – $45,500 per financial year). Older people with a Home Care Package can utilise their budget to purchase transport, social support, domestic assistance, personal care, home maintenance, meals, home modification, nursing care and Planned Respite.
Costs: Depending on income, some people are asked to contribute to the cost of services. Everyone receiving a Home Care Package can be asked to pay a ‘basic fee’ to help cover the cost of care. Some people may be asked to pay an extra contribution or ‘income tested care fee’ depending on their assessable income. The Department of Human Services (Centrelink) will determine whether someone needs to pay this fee and how much. My Aged Care provides a fee estimator to calculate an estimated cost for the services you require given your current financial situation.
There are a range of care options and supported accommodation facilities for people who are not able to live in their home on either a permanent or short term basis. To meet these needs, the Residential Care Program provides both permanent and short term or respite services in approved aged care facilities.
People with complex needs may be eligible for residential respite in an approved Residential Age Care Facility. This can be used as a stand alone service or as a supplement to their other community-based care services. Access to such services is under the Residential Care Program, which provides a subsidy for support of 63+ days each financial year.
Costs: The cost of residential respite will vary depending on your circumstances and the level of support the person with dementia needs. For example, you may be asked to pay a basic daily fee. The maximum basic daily fee is set at 85% of the single basic age pension, which is about $48 per day. If the person you care for is also a recipient of a Home Care Package they can take leave from that package to attend a residential respite stay. They are however not eligible to use their care package budget to pay for any of the costs related to this stay. For more information visit My Aged Care.
Screening and eligibility for all aged care services is via My Aged Care. A staff member will create a client record for your family member/friend, discuss their needs, and determine the appropriate next steps. Information from the home support assessment will form part of the My Aged Care client record. This means staff from other services can access this record so you do not need to repeat information.
What happens if my family member/friend is already receiving aged care services?
If you or your family member/friend are currently receiving aged care services, you do not need to contact My Aged Care unless your needs change or you want to consider different or additional services. In that case, you should contact My Aged Care to organise another assessment.