Category: home care for the aged

An update on aged care home care packages

Changes to the aged care home care package system

how to get the best from your home care package

On 27 February 2017, significant changes were made to home care packages for the aged in an effort to make packages more market driven and consumer focused. The most important change is that consumers now own their own packages, the package can be moved if the consumer relocates or is unhappy with a provider and a consumer can negotiate with providers to get what they want for the best price.

Update from the Department of Health on home care packages

The Department of Health administers the home care package system. In late March 2017, the department advised that it had released over 14,000 home care packages in March 2017 with the majority to consumers who had never previously held a home care package. The release also assigned packages to consumers who were currently receiving home care but were awaiting a package at their approved level.

The department also advised that it will now move to a more regular release schedule, with packages likely to be released weekly.

Information is not yet available on expected wait times or position in the queue. This is because the system is new and the department needs time to analyse the take up of home care packages, and ensure that meaningful information is available. The department has advised that data on wait times should be published in the second half of this year.

All clients who receive a package will receive a letter with a unique referral code. Consumers can then can either take their referral code to their chosen provider or ask the contact centre to send an electronic referral on their behalf. Consumers are encouraged to research and negotiate with providers using the service finders so they can get the most out of their package. Signpost can do that for you. Just call us on 1800 744 676 and ask about our home care package service.

Until next time

Margaret and Sara


Changes to home care packages

About home care packages

Changes to Home Care packages

How will these Home Care changes effect my Mum?

Home care packages are subsidised packages of funding for care services in the home.  These are aimed at older people who wish to remain in their home but need some help.  There are four levels of packages as follows:

Level 1 – for basic care needs;

Level 2  – for low level care needs;

Level 3 – for intermediate level care needs; and

Level 4 – for high level care needs.

To be eligible for any of these packages, you need an ACAS/ACAT assessment which can be arranged by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Changes to home care packages

Over the past few years, the Federal Government, which is responsible for these packages, has been making a number of changes to the way home care packages are delivered.  The most significant recent change was to make the packages CDC (Consumer Directed Care) which meant that recipients/consumers were able to have more say in the services that they received.  This model is continuing with the latest changes coming into effect shortly.

At the moment, packages are allocated to approved providers who contact eligible consumers to fill the packages. From 27 February, 2017, packages will be allocated directly to consumers by My Aged Care according to priority protocols.  Once a consumer has been notified that they have been allocated a package, the consumer will be able to select providers from an approved list and will be able to move the package from one provider to another if they wish.

The purpose of these changes is to make the market for home services more competitive and to give consumers more choice.  However, it is still up to the consumer to find the best deal in the market.

If you have been assessed as eligible for a package before 27 February 2017 but have not found a provider by that date, you will have received a letter from My Aged Care advising you to contact them to say you would like to remain on the list to be allocated a package.  You will keep your same spot on the priority list even if you call after 27 February.

What to do when you get a package

  1. Work out whether it is cost effective for you to take up the package.  For example, a Level 1 or Level 2 packages is often less cost effective than paying for the services privately unless you are a full pensioner.  You can work out what the package might cost you by using the home care fee estimator on the My Aged Care website.
  2. Shop around for the best provider, both in terms of what they can offer and how much it will cost you.  Before you start shopping, have a list of the services you want.  Do you need transport or cleaning?  Do you need help showering or with shopping and food?  Do you need allied services or nursing?Understanding what you need before you start shopping will make the exercise much easier.

If you need help finding the best home care for you, we can do it for you. Call us on 1800 744 676 for an obligation free chat.

Until next time,

Sara and Margaret

How do you get home help to keep mum and dad independent?

Getting the right home help for ageing parents

If your parents are elderly and frail, they may be able to remain at home with adequate support. What do we mean by support?

What kind of help can I get?

Support could include one or more of the following:

  • Personal care – assistance to shower, dress and attend to cleaning teeth, doing one’s hair, applying make up etc. to prepare for the day ahead and/or to assist at night .
  • Medication Management – someone attending at the time medications are due to ensure the ageing individual takes the right medications, the right dose at the right time.  Other mechanisms can be put in place to assist with medication management such as dosette boxes, webster packs and devices with timers which notify the individual that it is time to take the medication and allowing access to only those medications that are due.
  • Meals – whether it be assistance with meal preparation, shopping or arranging delivery of home cooked meals.
  • Domestic help – cleaning of the home, garden maintenance and assistance with domestic tasks such as shopping or changing light bulbs.
  • Personal alarms and monitoring –  a system that checks ageing individuals are safe each day and/or an emergency button to call for help.  There are numerous options available.
  • Social activity – social visits or assistance getting to or from functions or connecting into networks with like individuals. Social isolation is one of the biggest issues with the elderly so addressing this is vital.
  • Mobility Aids – it is worth having a physiotherapy assessment to ensure ageing individuals are safe when walking to prevent falls as the result of a fall is the most common trigger for entering an aged care facility.   Some subsidies are also available for fit outs (grab bars, railings etc) where considered necessary.

How do you access these home help supports?

There are currently 3 options to access home help:

1.  If you are a DVA gold or white card holder, DVA provides a range of home care services at little or no cost to those who need assistance. Call DVA on 133 254 to start the process.

2.  If you are 65 or over and need help, the Federal Government provides subsidised home care packages. Just be wary that if you do not receive a full age pension, these packages can be more expensive than paying a private provider. For more information and to get the process started call MyAgedCare on 1800 200 422 or go to

3.  Engaging a private service and self funding the costs.

You can combine the options and there are advantages and disadvantages to each option.  If you need more information contact us at or call us on 1800 744 676 for help understanding the options and finding the right care provider for your needs.

When the time comes to look for an aged care facility, please read this blog post.

Until next week

Sara and Margaret

Signpost Aged Care Services

Do I stay or do I go? (or help at home vs residential aged care)

Aged Care Residential Options

Getting older is a natural part of life but sometimes it means that we are struggling with tasks at home and need help.  What should you do when this happens?  Ultimately it depends on your circumstances and planning for the possibility early. Planning and foresight mean that you will probably have more choice when the time comes.

Home Care and Home Care Packages

Getting help to stay at home is one option.  The local council is often the first port of call for most people looking for care at home and this is likely to change shortly – exactly how is not quite clear yet.

The care from your local council depends on your needs and is quite limited in scope but it may be enough for you.

The federal government funds a number of home care packages which can be accessed through an ACAS (or ACAT) assessment.

Consumer Directed Care Model

These assesses a person as eligible for funded or subsidised care at home.  These packages are moving towards a Consumer Directed Care model which means that the services available can be much broader and more suited to your particular needs.

Beware though that these packages can be more expensive than funding the care privately, depending on your circumstances.

The Retirement Village Option

You could consider a retirement village, particularly if they provide on site assistance.  This is generally an expensive option but there are lifestyle benefits – mainly in the form of activities and social contact.

You need to investigate what services are available and what the costs are to a resident accessing those services in a retirement village.

Retirement villages may not be able to cater for your particular care needs. In general retirement villages cannot provide suitable assistance for people who have or progress to high care needs.

The Aged Care Residential Facility Option

Moving into an aged care residential facility could be a more suitable option.  These facilities can usually provide all your care needs and they are subsidised by the federal government.  You need to have an ACAS (or ACAT) assessment to access these facilities.

Aged care residential facilities can be expensive, particularly the cost of the Accommodation Payment, formerly called a bond.

The funding system ensures that everyone is able to afford residential care in an aged care residential facility.  If you are concerned about the cost of residential aged care, you should see a financial adviser. Consider a financial adviser who is specialist in aged care. One who can help you understand the costs and how you can afford them.

If you require assistance understanding the options or need guidance and help in making a decision.

Contact us at or call us on 1800 744 676.

Until next time.

Margaret and Sara

So your parents won’t heed your advice to move into care? What next?

Aged Care Independence Parents Not Coping

Around this time of year, aged care independence is the reason we get lots of calls from families. Adult children who have visited their parents(s) over the festive season and are really worried by what they saw.

These families tell us that there parents are not coping at home and really need to move into some form of aged care residential facility.  But their parents won’t have a bar of it.  So what else can you do to help them?

Aged Care Independence Help at Home

Here are some ideas for help at home that allow for continued aged care independence:

  • often nutrition is a problem; parents have lost weight or there is little if any food in the fridge.  Meals on wheels can provide meals which can be easily reheated.  This is usually organised through the local council.  If your parents scoff at that, there are numerous private providers who offer delicious and nutritious options at reasonable prices.  Or you could try the prepared freezer meals that are in the freezer section at the supermarket.  If your parents are having trouble reheating meals, think about local takeaway or high calorie meal substitutes like Ensure;
  • look at services that provide home care for the aged.  Subsidised services can be accessed either through the local council (although it appears there will be changes to this from 1 July 2015) or through federal government home care packages. is the government website which gives information on how to access these home care packages (the recipient will need an ACAS assessment).  Be wary that in many cases, these funded services can be more expensive than accessing services privately (see our earlier articles for more information about this).  Or services can be accessed privately.  There are numerous providers out there;
  • look at making the home safer for them.  This could include modifications such as grab rails and sensor lighting for the hazardous midnight bathroom trip, removal of rugs and a personal monitor to ensure that help comes quickly when it is needed.  Occupational therapists can do assessments of the home to help you identify the risk areas and appropriate modifications. The most common reason for entry into care is a fall and this fact alone often persuades a parent to let you look into it;
  • if social isolation is a problem, speak to the local church or to the council to see how they can help.  There are many ethnically based not-for-profit organisations that also provide social contact for the elderly.  Social isolation is often a function of reduced mobility or surrendering a licence.  You can look into alternative transport options such as half price taxi discounts or council services.

We very seldom have clients who actively want to move into care. Mostly clients move because they are told in hospital after some trauma that they cannot return home or they are resigned to the fact that they have to move into care.  You cannot make them move into care (unless they have lost capacity – more about that another day) – you can only do your best.

If you need further information or want assistance, contact us through our website below.

Until next week

Sara and Margaret