Options and levels of care
If you are looking for aged care services for yourself or for a
family member there are a lot of things to consider and options to
explore. Here we explain the different types of aged care services
available and how to work out what they might cost.
Where to start
Getting help at home
Most people want to stay in their own home for as long as
possible. Sometimes family and friends are able to help with
things like shopping, cooking and transport so you can stay
in your home longer.
The Government also provides subsidised home care that can help
with these everyday tasks as well as personal care, meal
services and nursing care. To find out more visit My Aged Care: Help at home.
Steps to take
If you think you or a loved one need help at home or need to
move to a care facility here are the steps you should take:
Types of care and costs
The Australian Government subsidises a range of aged care
services in Australia, however, you will be expected to contribute
to the cost of your care if you can afford to.
The following options are available.
Commonwealth Home Support Programme
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) provides
entry-level home support for older people who need assistance to
keep living independently at home within their community.
The CHSP brings together four programs:
- Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) Program
- Planned respite from the National Respite for Carers Program
- Day Therapy Centres (DTC) Program
- Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA)
Those who can afford to contribute to the cost of their care
will be required to do so, however services are still available for
those who can't afford to pay. Your contribution will be discussed
and agreed with the service provider before you receive any
Home care packages
Home care packages help older Australians stay in their home by
providing help with things such as, cleaning, meals, transport,
personal care and nursing care.
There are four levels of packages available. You will need an ACAT assessment to
determine your eligibility and package level.
Home care recipients may be asked to pay a basic daily care fee
and/or an income-tested care fee. The basic daily care fee
can be up to 17.5% of the single basic Age pension. The
income-tested care fee will be assessed by the Department of Human
Services (DHS) and is based on your financial situation. A schedule of
fees and charges can be found on the Aged Care website.
After hospital (transition) care
This is short-term care for people who have been in hospital and
need help with their recovery, or time to make a decision about the
best long-term care options.
Transition care can be provided in your own home, in an aged
care home or in other health facility. Services
include low-intensity therapy, access to a social worker,
nursing support for clinical care and personal care.
The costs of transition care will be agreed with your service
provider before services are provided and may include a daily care
Respite care is a form of support for you and your regular
carer. It allows you to get the care you need if your carer needs
time to attend to their needs or take a holiday.
Respite can be for a few hours, a few days, or for longer
periods depending on the needs of you and your carer. Respite care
can be provided in your home or in another care facility.
Costs will vary depending on the type of care you need and your
personal financial circumstances. In-home services are often
charged on an hourly rate. Day care centres and residential
facilities have different charge arrangements which you can
find out from your local service provider.
Residential aged care
This type of care is for people who need more help with
day-to-day tasks or health care. Residential care provides help
with cleaning, cooking, washing, personal care and nursing care. It
includes permanent and respite care.
- A basic daily fee payable by all
residents, capped at 85% of the single person basic Age
- A means-tested care fee which may be
payable based on an assessment of your income and assets.
- A full or partial accommodation
payment depending on your level of income and
- Fees for additional services such as a
higher standard of accommodation and non-standard
The total cost will be different for each resident, based on
their ability to pay. To get an idea of costs based on your
personal circumstances, use the My Aged Care residential
care fee estimator.
Most facilities are required to offer a certain number of places
for people who can't afford to pay accommodation costs.
Selling the family home to
pay for care
The decision on whether or not to sell the family home to enter
a facility will depend on your personal circumstances and what you
have negotiated with the aged care home you want to move
Your home is generally counted as an asset unless:
- Your partner or dependent child lives there
- A carer who is eligible for an Australian Government income
support payment has been living there for at least 2 years, or
- A close relative who is eligible for an Australian Government
income support payment has been living there for at least 5
Find out more details at My Aged Care: Assets
If you don't want to sell your home but are being asked to pay a
refundable accommodation payment, the care provider may allow
you to make a periodic payment instead.
If you move into a residential care facility without selling
your home, it will be exempt from the age pension assets test for 2
years from the date you move into care. The start date for the 2
year exemption may vary if you are, or were, a member of a couple
at the time you moved into aged care. For more information call the
Human Services on 132 300.
A lump sum refundable accommodation payment paid to a provider
is exempt from the age pension assets test.
Renting out the family home
to pay for care
If you rent your home to pay for periodic payments, the value of
your home will be exempt from the age pension assets test, and the
rental income will be exempt from the age pension income test,
while you are making periodic payments.
From 1 January 2016, new entrants to residential care will have
their net rental income from their former home assessed under the
aged care means test. Anyone who has entered an aged care facility
before this date will not be affected by the change.
If your long-term care needs are changing, find
out what care options are available and choose a service that suits
Last updated: 10 Feb 2017