As you age, bringing support into your home can help you to remain independent for longer and improve your quality of life. But understanding how to access home care packages can be hard to navigate, and the wait for government subsidies can be long. So, what’s important to know now?

You may have heard stories about people waiting 12 or more months to access the home care packages they need. These stories are true.

The Government is continuing to increase the number of home care packages, with announcements as recently as October 2020 and December 2020 introducing 33,000 new home care packages. But even so, the demand for care is greater than the number of packages available, meaning the wait can be long if you want the government to help pay for your care.

Most people wait until a crisis has happened before applying for home care and any waiting time is then stressful. What do you need to understand and set up to be ready?

Firstly, understand how the process works to access a home care package. The steps below provide a quick overview:

  1. Assessment – if you want the government to pay some of the cost, you need to contact MyAgedCare (myagedcare.gov.au) and arrange an assessment with an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/ACAS).
  2. The wait – once you are approved, you will be added to the National Priority system and wait for a package to become available.
  3. Do your research – While you are waiting, start to research home care providers in your area as you will need to choose one to administer your package.
  4. Package allocation – Read your mail carefully. When a package becomes available you will be sent a letter with details on how to activate the package. You will have 56 days to get everything sorted.
  5. Sign care agreement – Contact your chosen care provider and let them know that a package has been allocated. They will ask you to sign a home care agreement and use the referral code in your letter to secure the package so your care can begin.

If you can’t wait, residential care might be an alternative as you may not have to wait as long. Or if you have money, you could choose to pay for care privately. You might be able to use savings or access some of the equity in your home to fill the gap while you are waiting or to top-up the amount of care you receive from the package.

If you are thinking about what help you may need, don’t delay the decision to access care too long and don’t feel like you have to do this alone. We are here to help. Speak to us for help with understanding how you can make home care work for you and your options for funding the costs of care.

For more information, please contact Peter Speechley.

Peter Speechley is an ASC Accredited Aged Care Professional. Peter Speechley and HLB Wealth are an Authorised Representative of Paragem Pty Ltd ABN 16 108 571 875, AFSL 297276. Disclaimer: The information in this article is general and does not take into account your particular circumstances. We recommend specific tax or legal advice be sought before any action is taken and refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before investing in any product.