What is aged care?

Aged care decisions, whether they are for yourself, a spouse or a family member are complex and the choices people face are far more diverse than simply stay at home or move into an aged care facility. Today, there are more than 1 million people in Australia who receive aged care services and support, of which, around 200,000 receive care in permanent residential aged care.

Australia’s aged care system aims to ensure that the elderly receive quality care when they need it. All aged care facilities must meet strict requirements and must obtain government approval before they can provide care.

A need for aged care services may arise quickly or happen gradually over time. Therefore, there are several different levels of care available, from home care services to residential, respite and dementia care. This directory provides an overview of residential aged care facilities across Australia.

There are several reasons why an older person can no longer live at home. These may include illness, disability, the needs of their carers or because they can no longer manage at home on their own. Residential aged care provides the care that is needed, including assistance with personal care, help with day-to-day tasks or 24-hour nursing care.

Aged care choices span a number of different legal and financial arrangements each with their own tips and traps associated with them. Like most things in life, there is no “right”, “wrong” or “best”. It will come down to an individual’s preferences. What is important is that you make informed choices, that you understand the legal and financial arrangements, what accommodation, care and services you will be provided, when you will need move from one type of care to another, what it will cost, the impacts on pension and other government entitlements, likely tax consequences and the effect on your estate planning wishes.

ACAT Assesment 
The term “ACAT” is one you will come across repeatedly as you learn more about aged care services. The ACAT Assessment is the key to accessing many of the Government funded aged care services, including Home Care Packages, Transition Care Programme, Respite and permanent Residential Aged Care. ACAT means Aged Care Assessment Team. ACAT Assessments are free and can be carried out in your home or at the ACAT offices (normally within a hospital).

Most people are referred to ACAT by their doctor, community nurse or social worker but you — or a family member— are free to make direct contact with ACAT yourself. Rest assured that the ACAT interview process is a relatively easy one and the team’s objective is to help you. Bear in mind, however, that in some cases you could be waiting up to 6 weeks or more to get an appointment for the assessment to be carried out.

If you’re ready to start the process of looking for a residential aged care or respite care facility then you can start your search here.