CURRENTLY, THE GOVERNMENT PROVIDES TWO TIERS OF SERVICE TO ASSIST PEOPLE IN STAYING IN THEIR OWN HOME
1 - The Community Home Support Program & 2 - The 4 Levels of Home Care Packages
The goal is that this support will enable people to remain living in their own home – rather than having to enter an Aged Care Facility / Nursing Home.
While this sounds great – the reality is proving to be less than ideal for those with a burning desire to stay in their own home. There are some current issues that can – and do – result in people having to enter a facility despite their best efforts to stay in their home.
1. The Waiting Game
Someone may choose to wait as long as possible before entering the system, and by the time they reach out for help – there is then a further wait to be assessed for support and to have a Home Care Package allocated.
It’s not as simple as calling up the My Aged Care team and having someone on your doorstep within the week – or in fact in some cases within weeks or months. Even once assessed you will most likely then be placed in the ‘queue’ and allocated a package when one becomes available.
2. The Search
Once a Home Care Package is available you then need to do the ‘leg work’ to find your provider. This means comparing services on My Aged Care – and numerous phone calls/internet searches to locate the right provider for you, and then the process of signing up with your provider before your care gets started.
3. The Cost
Support comes at a cost, and this comes as a shock to some people. While the care is heavily subsidised, everybody pays a contribution towards their care - it is still going to hurt the hip pocket, particularly for those with above average income and assets.
4. The Support Provided
On average the highest care package will provide you with around 16 hours of support in your home as a maximum. Usually, this means a carer to visit your home for a short period twice a day. For some people that is not enough to enable them to stay at home. As someone’s needs increase, they will need access to other assistance – through family and friends or top up their support by paying privately for extra services to stay in their own home.
On a positive note – the government is reviewing the system and over time has announced increases to the number of packages. Hopefully over time - as the system continues to improve there will be easier and faster access to the system, and there will be more hours of care available.
THE IMPORTANT TAKE AWAY MESSAGE?
- Don’t wait until it gets to a crisis point – entering the system early will save delays if /when your needs increase and you need extra support. It is faster to access more care if you are already in the system and have a provider.
- Stay involved in your community as much as possible, if you can have a few friends and family who can be part of your ‘care team’ – even having someone pop in and check on your, bring you meals - this can be an essential part of being able to stay in your own home.
- Plan early – the reality is you may need to fund some services, so be aware of the cost of a Home Care Package, and how you might fund private services (consider financial options such as a Reverse Mortgage).