Tag: help at home

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


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 info@signpostlms.com.au or call us on 1800 744 676.

Until next time.

Margaret and Sara

“I promised I would look after Mum at home”

On Monday July 13th there was a talkback session on ABC 774 talking about moving loved ones in to aged care.  This can be a highly emotional time and one of the toughest decisions to make for spouses, partners, friends and children.  We often hear “I promised Mum I would look after her and never put her in to a home”.  As much as we would all like to keep our promises the changing reality of the situation and changing health needs often prevent this happening.

We have seen many primary carers working full time in the role of carer.  They are on call 24/7 with providing personal care, administering medications, assisting with mobilisation or keeping loved ones under a watchful eye if the person they are caring for wanders.  It is exhausting getting up at night and the reality of not having any down time.  We often see the carer’s health deteriorating which forces their hand to seek help which is often in the way of moving the person they care for in to residential aged care.

Guilt is the word most commonly expressed by carers and families.  We spend a lot of time talking with carers commending them for what a great job they have done by supporting the aged person in their life at home which without them would not have been possible.  It is important for carers to see that the relationship can become that of a carer , making one wonder what happened to being a husband, wife, mother, father etc.

Even though it is a very difficult time and it is hard to make the decision to move in to an aged care facility there are often many benefits.  Instead of the carer’s time being spent showering, dressing, preparing meals, sorting medication etc. they are now free to spend quality time together such as relaxing over a cup of tea, watching a movie together or taking a stroll.  The carer often finds renewed energy and is able to take back up hobbies that may have put aside whilst being a full time carer.  Also we often see the general health of the new resident improve with regular nutritious meals, stimulation from activities and company and help with maintaining day to day care needs.

Do not get me wrong it is not easy, time needs to be allowed for readjusting to the new situation, some people may feel lonely having lost the job of carer or sharing a home with someone.  This needs to be recognised by family and friends to help the carer adjust just as the new resident to aged care will need this support.

If you are facing this decision, give us a call, we can assist with the transition.


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.  myagedcare.gov.au 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