Navigating the aged-care maze

Navigating the aged-care maze

8 December 2015 14:24

The idea of moving into an aged care facility can be confronting. It challenges personal decisions to never leave our home, or family promises to never ‘put’ mum or dad into a home.

It masks the unspoken reality that the time may come when you or a loved one need more care than can be provided at home.

When faced with this dilemma, we can’t always choose when and where we go − booking into residential aged care isn’t like booking into your hotel of choice and demand is generally high.

Adding to what is an extremely emotional and stressful time, specific procedures and documents must be completed before admission.

Where to start

The first step for anyone entering government subsidised residential aged care is to have their eligibility and level of care determined by the Aged Care Assessment Team. This is arranged via the Government website

A visit to potential facilities will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of the type and cost of accommodation, the care provided and the activities on offer.

What does it cost?

Facilities have an accommodation charge, which residents can pay as a lump sum refundable accommodation deposit (RAD), or periodically in the form of a daily accommodation payment (DAP), or a combination of both.

Once you find a place, you complete an application form and submit it with your ACAT report. You must also complete a Centrelink Income and Assets Assessment of your finances. The government pays for the majority of aged care costs, but those who can afford to contribute are expected to do so.

Thinking ahead about available care options can help to remove any surprises and reduce stress at what can be a very emotional time.

Bina Brown, Director of Third Age Matters (

‘This article has been reproduced with permission from Bina Brown of Third Age Matters’



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