Aged Care FAQs

Your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on aged care


FAQ No. 1: What is an ACAT Assessment?

An ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) assessment is carried out by a government-recognised doctor, nurse, social worker, or other healthcare professional, to determine if you are eligible to receive government-subsidised aged-care services.
The assessment can help identify the right type of care services to help you stay at home. It also determines your eligibility for care in an aged-care home.
The outcome is an Aged Care Client Record (ACCR), which is the form used to maintain a record of your assessment and is held by the appropriate government department. The information is gathered to help work out how much and what type of help you need.

FAQ No. 2: What are the types of aged-care assistance available in Australia?

Home care packages

Home Care Packages are available if you have undergone an ACAT assessment and want to stay in your own home but need some help with things like cleaning and preparing meals, or with transport, so you can go shopping or attend appointments.

The services are tailored to suit your needs and delivered by a home care provider.

There are four levels of Home Care Packages designed to give you the care you need:

  • Level 1 is for people with basic care needs
  • Level 2 is for people with low-level care needs
  • Level 3 is for people with intermediate care needs
  • Level 4 is for people with high-level care needs.

At each level, the package is individually designed and coordinated with a home care provider.

Services may include:

  • Transport for shopping or appointments
  • Social support: eg taking you to do your shopping or banking, or just supplying you with company
  • Domestic assistance for household jobs like cleaning, washing clothes and ironing
  • Personal care assistance with bathing or showering, dressing, hair care and going to the toilet
  • Nursing care, where a qualified nurse comes to dress a wound or provide continence advice
  • Food services, such as providing meals at a community or day centre
  • Preparing and storing food, and delivering meals to your home
  • Assistance with taking your medications.

Respite care

Respite care, or short-term care, is a form of support for carers. Respite care may be for a few hours or days, or for longer periods, depending on:

  • your needs
  • the needs of the person you care for
  • what services are available in your area.

Respite care services can either be provided in your home or at some aged-care homes.

Transition care

Transition care may be provided in a:

  • hospital
  • aged-care facility
  • aged-care home.

It is short term in nature and designed to assist people to stay in their own home, or as a temporary measure while you find a permanent bed in an aged-care facility.

FAQ No. 3: What happens if you need more assistance than you can get living at home?

If you require more help and support than you can get living at home, living in an aged-care home may be the best option for you.

Aged-care homes are owned and run by people who the Australian Government has approved to care for you.

Staff at aged-care homes can help you with:

  • day-to-day tasks (such as cleaning, cooking, laundry)
  • personal care (such as dressing, grooming, going to the toilet)
  • 24-hour nursing care (such as wound care, catheter care).

FAQ No. 4: What is an aged-care home?

Aged-care homes are owned and run by people who the Australian Government has approved to care for you. They are sometimes also referred to as residential care facilities. They receive funding from the Australian Government specifically for the purpose of providing support and care for older people who have been assessed as needing low- to high-level daily personal and medical care.

Aged-care homes may be privately owned, or run by church organisations, local councils and not-for-profit organisations.

Facilities can vary in style, size and age. Some give priority to certain groups, such as war veterans, Indigenous people or people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

Some aged-care facilities provide a secure area and/or a special program for people suffering from dementia.

FAQ No. 5: What is the difference between low care and high care?

Prior to 1 July 2014, care levels of individuals were assessed as being low- or high- care, which then determined what type of accommodation costs you were asked to pay when you entered a home.

These two levels of care have not applied since 1 July 2014, which means that aged-care facilities have more flexibility to meet your changing needs.

While the ACAT approval will no longer refer to the low-level or high-level permanent residential care categories, the low-level and high-level care categories will still apply for approvals for residential respite care after 1 July 2014.

Under what circumstances will I have to pay a bond? How much is it likely to cost me?

The amount you can be asked to pay for your accommodation will be based on your income and assets. It is no longer referred to as a bond but as an accommodation charge. It can be paid as a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD), if the accommodation price is paid in full, or a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP). There are also accommodation contributions.

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.

FAQ No. 6: Are there any fees on top of the accommodation charge?

Besides the accommodation charge or contribution, there may be fees including:

  • A basic daily fee (covering living costs such as meals, power and laundry)
  • A means-tested care fee (an additional contribution towards the cost of care that some people may be required to pay)
  • Fees for extra or additional optional services (additional fees may apply if you choose a higher standard of accommodation or additional services).
  • What is a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) and a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP)?

A Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) is a lump sum payment for accommodation in an aged-care facility. This is the price of a room, in lump-sum form, that residents have agreed with their aged-care facility to pay.

Residents can pay their accommodation price in full by RAD or they can pay via combination of a smaller RAD and Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP), or they can pay in full by DAP.

The RAD, minus any amounts deducted (as agreed), is refunded when the resident leaves the aged-care home. However, a DAP is not refunded.

The aged-care facility will work out the DAP based on a legislated formula that converts the RAD price to a DAP price.

A resident makes this payment on a regular basis, up to a month in advance. In this way, it is similar to paying rent.

A resident can choose to pay a combination of a RAD and a DAP for their accommodation costs.

FAQ No. 7: What is dementia care?

Someone with dementia may need specialised services and staff to support their needs.

Some aged-care homes that the Australian Government subsidises cater for the needs of people with dementia. However, there are many other homes that provide specialised services to support people with severe behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia and mental illness.

What are the extra services?

Some aged-care facilities provide extra, government-approved, services, which may come in the form of a higher level of accommodation or services being provided. An extra services fee is charged for these additional services. They may include:

  • newspaper delivery
  • wine with meals
  • massages.

FAQ No. 8: What is a retirement village?

A retirement village is a form of independent living in a safe environment. Increasingly, it is a lifestyle choice for retirees or those approaching retirement to enjoy an independent, active, social, safe and secure way of living among their peers. Limited support services may be available on a fee-for-service basis.

Residents generally buy into a village, and pay fees that cover maintenance costs such as gardening, external upkeep of buildings and administration of village operations, as well as the right to use lifestyle-enhancing facilities. These facilities may include a community centre, library and a village bus.

Retirement village operators include publicly listed companies, private operators and not-for-profit entities.

Occupancy agreements between villages and residents are covered under State and Territory legislation. Different villages use different legal forms of tenure, such as:

  • strata title ownership
  • leasehold estates
  • licences to occupy
  • company share arrangements with related residency entitlements.

Do you need assistance in finding the right aged-care solution for your particular situation? Are you interested in a more personalised service? Would you like to chat about your options with someone understands the aged-care system? If so, call Bina on 0418 651 330.