How to move into residential aged care

What do you need to do to move into residential aged care?

If you are thinking about moving into residential aged care, here is what you need to do:

  • Obtain an ACAS/ACAT assessment. This assessment is done by the government, usually in your home or in hospital and is free.  You will need to have approval for permanent residential care in the assessment (you can also receive approval for respite care and home care unless you are already in hospital and need to go straight to residential care).  To obtain an assessment, go to
  • Understand the costs of aged care and work out what you can afford when looking for a place. Information is available on or on our FAQ page.  We strongly recommend that you seek assistance with working out the costs as they are complicated and there may be ways to optimise the cost of aged care. Are you a couple seeking aged care residential facility together?
  • Complete the Centrelink assessment form for aged care.  Whilst you do not have to complete the form and filling in the form may not be worth the effort if you are very wealthy, most aged care facilities will ask you to do it.  If you want to know more about whether you have to fill in the form or not, read our earlier article here.
  • Decide where you wish to be located.  Narrowing the search geographically will save a lot of time.  We always suggest it should be close to the person who is most likely to visit rather than mid way between family members.
  • Search for aged care residential facilities in the chosen area. That can be done by a simple google search or you can use the ‘Find a service’ tab on  Create a shortlist from that search.
  • Call the facility and ask whether they have vacancies or if not whether they have a waiting list.  If you are satisfied that they will have a vacancy when you need it, book a tour.  Tours are the only way to decide whether the facility suits you. As it will be your home, it is important that you make sure you can live there.
  • Fill out application forms for the facilities you are interested in.
  • When there is a vacancy – move in!!! You usually have to move in quickly after you are offered a room so be prepared to move on short notice.  You do not need ot take much with you when you first arrive.  You can always sort out what you want bring at a later time when things have settled.

If you need help on any of this, including the financial side of aged care, call us on 1800 744 676 or email us at

Until next time

Sara and Margaret

Find out more about Signpost Aged Care Services here

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