Frequently Asked Aged Care Questions
Aged Care Facilities
There are two main options for people requiring supportive care in a facility;
1) Residential Aged Care Facility/Aged Care Homes (also known as nursing homes or old persons home).
2) Supported Residential Service (SRS). These are only available in Victoria or South Australia.
3) Retirement Villages are generally for people that are independent or require a lower level of care.
If you are considering moving into an aged care home that offers government funded assistance, then the first step is to arrange a free assessment with an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT or ACAS in Victoria).
The will assess how much care you will require and work out if you are eligible for assistance.
Anyone over the age of 65-years-old needing government subsidised home care or aged care home will require an “Aged Care Assessment”. These are free government funded assessments usually completed in your own home or the hospital. These assessments are carried out by Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT). The ACAT teams are spread around Australia and depending on where you live will depend on which team can assist you.
Search our directory and find an Aged Care Assessment near you.
To give you an idea below is a summary of what you may be expected to pay. Depending on your own financial position you may have to pay one or more of the following fees to enter an aged care home.
- A basic daily fee: this covers living costs such as meals, power and laundry. For some people this is the only fee they are required to pay ($49.42 per day). Everyone must pay this fee.
- A means-tested care fee: this is an additional contribution towards the cost of care that some people may be required to pay. The Department of Human Services will work out if you are required to pay this fee based on an assessment of your income and assets, and will advise you of the amount.
- An accommodation payment: (also known as Refundable Accommodation Deposit – RAD or Daily Accommodation Payment – DAP). This is for your accommodation in the aged care home. Some people will have their accommodation costs met in full or in part by the Australian Government, while others will need to pay the accommodation price agreed with the aged care home. The Department of Human Services will advise you which applies to you based on an assessment of your income and assets.
- Fees for extra or additional optional services: Additional fees may apply if you choose a ‘higher’ standard of accommodation or additional services. These vary from home to home. The individual aged care provider can provide you with details of these services and the fees that apply. This may include higher quality of food, alcohol, delivered newspaper and paid television.
Respite care (also known as ‘short term care’) can be delivered in aged care homes, day centres or in your own home. The idea of respite care is to give individuals or their carers a break from their caring role. Allowing them the opportunity to catch up on everyday activities or go on holiday while ensuring the needs of the person they care for are supported.
You will first need a free assessment with a member of an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). An ACAT will talk to you about your current situation and work out if you are eligible to receive residential respite care. The ACAT will also explain the type of care you require. You can access residential respite for up to 63 days each financial year. This time can be extended in lots of 21 days if an assessment finds that extra time is necessary.
You do not need to pay an accommodation charge or bond for respite care.
You will however have to pay a basic daily fee and in some instances a booking fee. The booking fee must not be higher than either a full week’s basic daily fee or 25% of the fee for the entire stay, depending on which amount is the lowest.
The basic daily fee for respite is 85% of the single basic Age Pension. From 20 March 2017 to 19 September 2018, the single rate of the basic Age Pension is $814.00 per fortnight. 85% of the single rate of basic Age Pension is $664.86 per fortnight or $49.42 per day
With so many options out there, how do you know what are the quality services available to meet your needs? There are three main options to choose from either local council supports, Commonwealth Home Care Packages or private home care agencies. Some people may choose to access government funded packages only, others may choose private services if they have the means, or a combination of both. Let us talk you through the differences so you can work out which one is for you.
The Transition Care Program (TCP) is generally for people over the age of 65 years who have been in hospital, but need more help to recover and time to make a decision about the best place for them to live in the longer term.
The organisation that provides your transition care services (your service provider) may charge you a daily care fee for the services you need. They should explain their fees to you, and the amount you are going to be charged should form part of the agreement between you and the service provider.
The fee is calculated on a daily basis for every day you receive services through transition care. The maximum basic daily rate for transition care delivered in a:
- community setting, including in your own home is $10.17 per day (from 20 September 2017 to 19 March 2018).
- residential setting is up to $49.42 per day (from 20 September 2017 to 19 March 2018).
Rates increase in March and September each year in line with changes to the Age Pension.
Whilst each retirement village has their own fee structure these are the main fees one would expect to pay include;
- Wait list: Some fees may start as soon as you put your name on a waiting list, with many operators charging a fee to remain on the waiting list. That may or may not be refunded upon entry.
- Purchase price: The retirement village unit could cost anywhere from $200,000 to $2,000,000 depending on location and services available.
- Ongoing fees, maintenance, management fees: These fees are paid directly to the village owner and can range anywhere from $280 to $1,000+ per month. An often misread or omitted fine print that has come under attack is that seniors (or their relatives) may be been forced to pay ongoing fees for months (if not years) after their death or if they decide to move out until the unit is sold. Whilst each state is different and some are regulated these ongoing fees could potentially increase unexpectedly and may cause an issue if not budgeted for. Find out what applies for your state.
- Exit/Deferred Management Fees: A person purchasing a retirement unit could expect to pay a deferred fee whereby when it comes time to sell you have to pay the village owner a large percentage of the sale price. This could range anywhere from 25-30 per cent of the sale price, which is equivalent to 3 per cent a year for a maximum of 10 years.
- Capital Gains Tax: Last but not least if there has been any capital gains the amount you get to keep will be dependent on your contract. This may mean your ingoing contribution could be non-refundable. Be prepared that some retirement village owners assign 100 per cent of any capital gains to the resident in addition to paying the departure fee, which may leave the resident with less money than when they entered the village.