I am on the home care waitlist – what are my options?

Even though the Government has announced funding for 10,000 additional home care packages, this will only make a small dent in the growing home care waitlist. So, what if you are in the queue and in need of services now? We discuss your options.

If you are one of the almost 130,000 people on the national queue waiting for your home care package to be allocated, you may be growing frustrated and wondering what your options are while you wait.

At the moment, the national queue for home care packages has a waiting list for packages of at least nine months for low care packages (Level 1 and 2) and more than 12 months for high care packages (Level 3 and 4).

This is leaving many older people living in their own home, and their carers, without the help they need. While many people soldier on with some family help, there are some measures you can take to make sure you can access some form of care while you wait for your package to be approved.

Pay for private home care services

If you have funds available, you can pay for home care services privately in what is commonly called fee for service. You can contact a home care provider in your area and pay for the care that you need. This may be more affordable than you think.

You can choose to get help with domestic assistance, personal care, transport, home modifications or home and garden maintenance. Services can be chosen to best support you to remain as independent as possible. Many home care providers offer short term care options to give carers respite, so that is an option as well.

Take a lower home care package when it’s offered

Many people on the national home care package queue – particularly those waiting on a high care level package – will be offered a lower level package before one at their assessed care level becomes available.

If you get offered a package at a lower care level – take it! 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 your assessed care level.

Share the care

While it can be tempting to battle on while you wait, it’s worth looking at what you can change at home to help make living easier. Are there some home modifications you can get done? Can you get different friends and family to help you with the activities you are finding hard? Can someone set you up with internet banking and online grocery shopping? Small changes can make a big difference to how supported you feel living in your own home.

Decide on a home care provider

There are so many options when it comes to home care providers. While you are on the queue waiting for your home care package, it’s a good chance to research the home care provider options in your area and choose the one that’s right for you. Each provider has their own cost structure and schedule of fees, so gathering this information can help you compare. Keep a lookout for case management and administration fees, minimum visit times and transport charges. These can all have an impact on the amount of money left in your package to fund care.

Ask for help

If you are confused by the Home Care Package system, My Aged Care can help. They can let you know how to apply for a home care package and answer any questions about your status on the home care wait list.

Envigor can also help walk you through your home care options. Find home care help in your area.

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