How to move into residential aged care

Been looking into aged care homes?
Follow these key steps to make the move into residential aged care.

1. Are you eligible for aged care?

Residential aged care is for Australians aged 65 and older who can no longer live independently at home. Eligibility is based on need, determined through a face-to-face meeting with the government’s Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS).
If you are booking the assessment yourself, go here.

2. Finding an aged care home

Whether you are working with your social worker or researching yourself, the approach to shortlisting care homes is the same—put the person first and personalise.

See our list of questions and prompts when touring or speaking with aged care homes here.

3. What do you need to pay in aged care?

Some of the fees and costs associated with aged care depend on your financial situation. Fees for care will include- Basic daily fee, Accommodation costs, Means-tested care fee, Extra service fees and Additional service fees. See the full list of fees and relevant paperwork required here.

4. How do you apply for an aged care home?

You can apply to as many homes as you like. Some will have their own application process and may ask you to fill in their forms. When a place becomes available, the aged care home will contact you or your nominated contact person. After accepting a place, make sure you let the other aged care homes know that you have found somewhere you like, to ensure that they no longer need to keep you on the waiting list.

To have your fees and charges subsidised by the Australian Government, you will need to provide your financial information to Centrelink/ Services Australia. See here for the correct form to fill out for your situation.

Once you accept a place in an aged care home, there will be two or three contracts possibly combined into one for you to sign. See the full list here.

5. What is it like to live in an aged care home?

The move to communal living and change to everyday routines can be very confronting. It will take some time for everyone to adjust.

You may have help with many of the day-to-day tasks that you’ve been used to doing for yourself, and there will be plenty of social activities going on in your new home. Staff at the home will respect your privacy, and your friends and family will be able to visit at any time. You won’t lose the right to vote, or any other rights you enjoy as a citizen. You also won’t lose the right to control your own financial affairs and possessions.

If you need any advise, OPAN provide free independent and confidential advocacy support to those who need it, education about aged care service provision and consumers’ rights and responsibilities, and campaign for the rights of older people, and run projects to address serious issues.
Read more about advocacy here.