Sydney, Sept 26: Forty thousand additional home care packages with funding of up to $53,268.10 a year will become available during the coming months, yet many older Australians are not aware they are eligible.
This means by June 2023 more than 275,000 home care packages will be available giving older Australians access to affordable care services so they can remain at home for longer.
Simon Lockyer, CEO of national home care provider Five Good Friends, said every senior Australian who needs help to live independently at home should consider undergoing an assessment and putting in an application for a Commonwealth Government Home Care Package.
“There is funding starting from around $9,000, up to $53,000 a year.
“These packages help eligible older Australians live safely and independently in their own homes.
“As everyone’s care needs differ, there are four levels of home care packages and cover off basic support needs through to those with high-care needs.”
To qualify, a person must be 65 years or older (50 years-plus for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders) and the level of care is determined by way of an Australian Government My Aged Care assessment.
“Your GP or health professional can contact My Aged Care on your behalf and arrange an assessment, or you can contact My Aged Care yourself.
“Alternatively, trusted family, friends and carers are able to arrange an assessment on behalf of a loved one,” Lockyer said.
“We find most of our members find it easier to have their Five Good Friends Care Advisor arrange the necessary evaluation for them.
“Many find the whole process daunting, that’s why at Five Good Friends we have set up a dedicated team to assist care recipients and/or their family in navigating the assessment and funding process.”
Once the level of care required has been established some people may have to pay an income-tested care fee.
Whether you pay it, and how much you pay, is determined through a formal income assessment from Services Australia (Centrelink).
If you have to pay this fee, there are annual and lifetime limits on how much you can be asked to pay. Separate to this Home Care Providers can also charge a basic daily fee of $11.26.
People on a full pension and those with an income up to $29,234.40 are not expected to pay an income tested care fee.
“How much a person must contribute towards their home care package will depend on your personal financial situation and the home care provider you use. Five Good Friends does not charge the basic daily fee,” Lockyer noted.
“After a person reaches the lifetime cap, they will no longer have to pay these fees,” Lockyer added.
He suggests anyone considering accessing home care funding in the near future should have their assessment completed and application lodged sooner rather than later.
“Depending on which service you’re suited to and where you live it can take up to 12 weeks to have your aged care needs assessed. In urgent situations, an assessment can be organised within 48 hours,” Lockyer added.
“However, it currently can take up to six months to establish eligibility and which home care package funding is available to you, and we expect these wait times to lengthen as demand grows.
“Research proves, for every hour of home care service a person receives, it reduces the risk of entry into residential care by six per cent.
“It’s a good idea to get into the system now, because if the level of care you need now is low, you can request a change to the package level at any time if your circumstances change.”
|Level of care & funding|
|· Basic care needs – $9,179.75 a year· |
This is perfect for those who require some support in their day-to-day activities ie. gardening, washing or domestic support.
|· Low care needs – $16,147.60 a year|
Suitable for those with low-level care required – like personal care, transport, shopping, podiatry, gardening and exercise classes – but want to remain independent.
|· Intermediate care needs – $35,138.55 a year· |
Slightly more advanced level of care offering support for medication and treatment, social support, transportation to and from places, allied health support, garden assistance, or even modifications to the home like installing ramps and rails.
|· High care needs – $53,268.10 a year· |
Daily visits, assisting with social support, transportation, nursing support, allied health, gardening and more.
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