Aged care homes- cropped photo of three pairs of hands playing cards, the pair in the foreground are holding a mixed hand

How to get into an aged care home

DailyCare inforgraphic outlining the steps to residential aged care

Applying, waiting lists and vacancies

Many aged care homes have waiting lists. When vacancies become available, they are allocated according to care requirements, urgency, time spent on the waiting list and suitability.
If you land a place in an aged care home, it’s important to be organised. You’ll need:

  • your Aged Care Assessment and Asset and Income Test
  • details of your nominee, guardian or power of attorney (if you’ve appointed them)
  • your pension details.

You can be on the waiting list at more than one residential aged care home, although you will usually need to decide whether to accept a place immediately it is offered, so only register interest if you would be happy to live there.

Once you’ve accepted an offer, while it is possible to move to more preferred accommodation later, it will probably take some time, as your need for placement would no longer be considered urgent.

And it’s okay to change your mind. You don’t have to accept an offer, and there’s no penalty if you say no.

Signing up and moving in

Resident Agreement

If you accept an offer, you’ll need to sign this legally binding contract, which outlines details such as:

  • your fees
  • services provided
  • your rights and responsibilities
  • the aged care home’s rights and responsibilities.

Accommodation Agreement

If you are paying all or part of the cost of care, you will also need to sign this contract, which outlines details such as:

  • accommodation costs you will pay
  • whether you’ll pay by RAD, DAP or a combination
  • whether you’re paying additional service fees.

Don’t feel pressure to sign these documents. You can sign the Resident Agreement after you’ve moved in whenever you are comfortable with the details. You have 28 days after you move in to sign the Accommodation Agreement; plenty of time to show it to family, financial advisors and other trusted people before you sign.

If you’ve appointed a Power of Attorney, they can sign on your behalf.

Supported Residential Facilities (SRF)

Known in Victoria as Supported Residential Services (SRS), these are privately operated residential aged care homes that – while regulated to meet government standards – are not government funded and don’t fall under the Aged Care Act.

This means:

  • You don’t need an Aged Care Assessment or Assets test to become a resident
  • You can’t access subsidies to cover the cost of your care
  • There is no cap to the fees you can be charged

The size and levels of comfort and care vary between SRFs; some offer ‘pension-level’ care, and provide valuable services to younger people with disabilities or other care needs, while others offer a higher level of comfort for an equivalent price tag.

These facilities are monitored, and certain regulations apply, including staff-to-resident ratios. Operators must have a certificate from the Department of Health to operate, and facilities are monitored for compliance.

And while you can’t access government funding, you can access some government-funded and community services, including allied and mental health, and veterans’ affairs services.