If you are planning on ageing in your own home, home care can empower you to live independently and keep doing what’s important to you.
As more Australians opt to live in their own home as they grow older, home care is growing in popularity. So much so that there are now almost 130,000 people on the government-funded home care waiting list. Due to this growing waiting list, it’s more important than ever to understand what home care packages provide and how to best access services.
Understanding home care package levels
The home care package program offers funding to help Australians over the age of 65 remain living in their own home as they age.
There are four levels of home care packages from Level 1 for basic care needs up to Level 4 for high-level care. Each level attracts a different amount of funding to be put towards a range of support that will allow you to remain in your own home, including domestic assistance, transport, personal care, social support and nursing services.
How do I get assessed for a home care package?
If you are considering accessing home care, Jo Booker, Envigor care partner for Noosa/Sippy Downs, said the first step is to get in touch with My Aged Care.
“We often help people get in touch with My Aged Care and assist them through the process. My Aged Care will ask questions about your current situation to check your eligibility. If your care needs indicate you would be eligible for a home care package, My Aged Care will refer you to an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to complete an assessment,” said Jo.
“Once you are referred to ACAT, a local ACAT assessor will come to your home to chat with you about what you’re having difficulty with and observe how you are coping in your day-to-day life. We can support people at those visits as well.
“They will then use this information to approve you for a home care package at either low-level (Level 1 or 2 package) or high-level care (Level 3 or 4 package). ACAT will write you a letter to inform you of your approval and which package you are eligible for.”
How can home care help me?
Home care can support you with those things you are starting to have difficulty with, freeing up time and energy for the things in life you really want to do.
According to Vicki Saun, Envigor care partner for Maroochydore, while you may not be automatically assigned a package at your assessed care level there are other measures you can take to make sure you can access some form of care while you wait.
“If you have funds available, you can pay for home care services privately in what is commonly called fee for service. This may be more affordable than you think.
“Another option is taking a lower level package when it is offered. You will remain in your place on the national priority queue and you can start getting some services in place while you continue to wait for a package at a higher level.”
Opting to get some care services delivered gives you the chance to find a home care provider in your local area who will deliver your care in a way that suits you.
“With home care providers all offering differing fee structures, charges and approaches to care, it’s important to be armed with consistent information so you can adequately compare providers. The big tip here is to do your research and don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you choose a home care provider that’s right for you,” says Vicki.
“We at Envigor are happy to answer any questions – we’re down to earth and aim to make things simple to understand for your situation.”