In this series, we are going to help steer you through the jargon, acronyms and rules of accessing aged care for your parents. Part one looks at the Home Care Package.
The decision to access aged care is often made suddenly. As well as the emotional cost of dealing with frail and ageing parents, carers also face a complex financial and administrative burden. There are means tests, Centrelink rules and processes, ACAT assessments, RADS, wills and power of attorney – and of course Home Care Package.
More Australians are delaying the move into an aged care facility in favour of staying in their homes. However, this often brings added burden on children to help with basic needs like showering, toileting and meals.
That’s where the Federal Government’s Home Care Package can help.
In January, the Government announced an extra 10,000 home care packages and $851 million worth of new funding over four years. The new funding will bring the numbers of Australians accessing the Package up to about 195,000. But critics say it is not enough and there is still 100,000 people on a waiting list.
So, what is Home Care Package?
Home care packages allow your loved one to stay in their home longer by providing care for basic needs, making modifications to the home and providing transport to services like a doctor appointment. Simply choose a home care package provider and they will be paid a subsidy by the government to deliver the care.
There are four levels of care:
- Level 1 Basic care – $9,000 per year
- Level 2 Low care – $15,750 per year
- Level 3 Intermediate care – $34,250 per year
- Level 4 High care – $52,000 per year
Of course, you will be expected to contribute a modest amount towards the cost, depending on the level of care. For a basic daily fee that is up to $10.75. For elderly Australians drawing an income from their investments, they will have to take an income-test from Services Australia, and they could pay up to $30.86 per day.
As with any aspect of aged care – there are two main types of assessment. Financial to establish your share of the care (although you cannot be excluded from the program based on financial means) and an assessment to establish the level of care.
Richard Cameron, Principal and Aged Care specialist at Future Step Financial Services says that too many people neglect the planning required to make a smooth transition to aged care and he encourages people to see an aged care specialist.
“Planning in retirement is just as important as planning for retirement. As we cycle through the various stages of our golden years, our health and care situation become much more of a factor on the quality of life” he says, “Having control over our choices gives the peace of mind and asset protection that we deserve.”