This first part of the series will look at how Government subsidised aged care services can be accessed. You will understand the assessments required to determine whether you, or your loved one, is eligible to receive aged care.

Approval
More Australians are using aged care services each year. Whilst it may seem daunting at first, the aged care system has improved significantly over the last few years, with a strong focus on ensuring help and resources are available to help you every step of the way.
You can access aged care services through a non-government subsidised provider of aged care anytime. However, if you wish to access government subsidised aged care, the first step involves an assessment. This assessment will help identify the type of services you may be eligible for.
The assessment process
An assessment will be completed to work out your care needs and identify the type of support you may be eligible for. This is a free service which you can start by calling My Aged Care (the Government service for aged care) on 1800 200 422.
During the call, a client record will be created to register you with My Aged Care. To create this record, you will be asked about your current needs, any aged care services you may already receive and the results of any prior assessments.
They will seek to find out more information about how you are managing around the home, any health concerns you may have, and any support from family or friends you receive. Openness and honesty will ensure they can fully understand your care needs.
ACAT/ACAS or RAS assessment
If you have been referred for an assessment, an assessor will contact you to arrange a time that suits you best to come and visit you in your home. An assessment is provided by a local assessor from an Aged Care Assessment Team or ACAT. In Victoria, this service is provided by an Aged Care Assessment Service or ACAS. Depending on your health needs, an assessment may otherwise be provided by a Regional Assessment Service or RAS. To make sure the assessment is effective, there are a few things to prepare before the visit:
• your Medicare number
• a copy of any referrals from your doctor
• any information you already have about aged care services that you may want to discuss with the assessor
• your GP or other health professional’s contact details
• information on any support you currently receive.
If you would like a family member, carer, or friend to be with you during the assessment, just let them know the time and date you have agreed with the assessor.
What happens during the assessment?
The assessor will have a record of all the information you provided during your initial phone call, and will look to increase their understanding of your needs by asking some more questions about:
• what support you already have and if that will continue
• your health and lifestyle, and any health concerns
• if you have problems with your memory
• how you are going with daily tasks and activities around the home
• any issues with home and personal safety.
You can ask questions of your own, such as what services are available and whether there are any service providers in your area.
Working together, you will develop a support plan that includes your strengths, difficulties, goals and preferences for your aged care services.
After the assessment
Your assessment will determine your eligibility to access services at home or in a residential aged care facililty. If you are assessed as eligible to access services, you will receive an approval letter and support plan that sets out the services you are approved to access. If you are not approved to access services, you will receive a letter stating why and who to contact for more help.

This second part of the series will look at the types of aged care available, depending on the outcome of your assessment. From entry-level care at home, to 24-hour support in a residential aged care facility, each stage of support is designed to give you the help and care that you need.

Types of aged care available
After your ACAT/ACAS or RAS assessment (read more about this in our first Aged Care flyer, Part 1: approval), an approval letter will be provided which will identify the type of aged care services you are eligible for.
Commonwealth Home Support Program
You may have been approved for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). It is an entry level program for older people who need basic assistance with daily tasks to live independently at home.
You are expected to contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to. Also, you will need to discuss and agree to any fees with relevant service providers before you receive services.
Types of CHSP services available
The types of services you can receive under a CHSP include:
• Domestic assistance with household jobs like cleaning and laundry.
• Social support with activities in a community-based group setting or accompanied activities.
• Meals and food services – shopping for groceries, the preparation of meals or delivering meals to your home.
• Allied health support services – physiotherapy, podiatry, speech pathology, occupational therapy, advice from a dietician or other allied health and therapy services.
Finding a CHSP provider
Visit the Government’s My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) or phone 1800 200 422 to find CHSP service providers in your area. You can access a list of provider contact details to find out whether a particular provider can suit your needs, how much they cost, and how they provide their services.
Home care packages
You may have been approved for a home care package. There are four levels of home care packages available, from providing basic care needs (level 1) to providing high level care needs (level 4).
Whilst there will be a subsidy that the government will pay towards your home care package (increasing with each package level), you will be expected to contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to. Visit the Government’s My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) for information on how much you could be expected to pay.
Types of home care services available
The types of services you can receive under a home care package include:
• Personal services – assistance with personal activities such as bathing, showering, toileting, dressing and undressing, mobility and communication.
• Nutrition, hydration, meal preparation and diet.
• Continence management: assistance in using continence aids and appliances.
• Mobility and dexterity.
• Nursing, allied health and other clinical services – speech therapy, podiatry, occupational or physiotherapy services, hearing and vision services.
• Transport and personal assistance – assistance with shopping, visiting health practitioners and attending social activities.
• Management of skin integrity – assistance with bandages, dressings and skin emollients.
Finding a home care service provider
Visit the Government’s My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) or phone 1800 200 422 to find home care service providers in your area, based on level of home care package you have been approved for. You can access a list of provider contact details to find out whether a particular provider can suit your needs, how much they cost, and how they provide their services.
Residential aged care
You may have been approved for services in an aged care home. If you decide this is right for you, it will be helpful to visit these homes so you can see for yourself whether it will provide you with the support you want.
As you visit each aged care home, you may want to make a note of what you liked, didn’t like, and whether you would be happy to live there. This will help you decide which home would be most suitable.
There may be different fees associated with each home.
Types of residential aged care services available
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 care under the supervision of a registered nurse.
• Accessing a variety of additional services such as physiotherapy (exercises, mobility, strength and balance) or podiatry (foot care).
Finding an aged care home
Visit the Government’s My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) or phone 1800 200 422 to help you find aged care homes in your area. You can access the contact details of homes plus find a description of their services, costs, and any areas of care speciality they can help with.

This third part of the series will look at some of the costs involved in transitioning to permanent residential aged care.

The basic daily fee
Cost: $51.63 per day (as at 20 September 2019) Amount paid by you in a year: $18,845.
What is it?
The basic daily fee is used to cover the day-to-day expenses such as meals, laundry and cleaning etc. Everybody entering residential aged care is expected to pay this fee.
Usually the aged care provider will ask this fee to be paid fortnightly or monthly, and to be paid up to one month in advance.
The basic daily fee is an amount equivalent to 85% of the maximum basic rate of the Age Pension for a single person. As the Age Pension rate indexes twice a year, so will the basic daily fee. Find out more about the basic daily fee at  ww.myagedcare.gov.au
The means-tested care fee
Cost: Between $0 and $27,755 (capped) a year (as at 20 September 2019) Generally, if you have financial assets of $197,000 or more you can be asked to pay a means-tested care fee.1
What is it?
The means-tested care fee is a contribution towards day-to-day care costs in an aged care home. The amount payable depends on two components – a combined income and assets assessment and your cost of care. However, there are annual and lifetime caps in place to limit the amount of the means-tested care fee you can be asked to pay.
Accommodation costs
Cost: $0 to $550,000 (refundable accommodation deposit)2
• Average published price in major cities: $447,000.3
• Average published price in regional areas: $348,000.3
• Average published price in remote areas: $293,000.3
What is it?
Each residential aged care home has different costs for living there. These can vary significantly depending on the location and status of the home.
You can pay the accommodation costs as a refundable lump sum, referred to as a refundable accommodation deposit (RAD), or in periodic payments, referred to as a daily accommodation payment (DAP). Or a combination of both.
If you pay a RAD, this will be refunded to you or your estate when you leave the care home. The accommodation costs are negotiated between you and the aged care home but cannot exceed the amount published by the facility on the Government website www.myagedcare.gov.au.
1  Based on rates and thresholds as at 20 September 2019.
2  Aged care homes wanting to charge accommodation prices of more than $550,000 as a lump sum must have their prices approved by the Aged Care
Pricing Commissioner. Aged Care Financing Authority | Annual Report on the Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Sector – 2018.
3 Aged Care Financing Authority | Annual Report on the Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Sector – 2019.
Other costs
Other costs charged by the aged care provider should be advertised.
There are two types of extra fees:
• extra service fees for aged care homes with extra service status. These fees could be for higher standards of food, accommodation and hotel-type services.
• additional fees for other care or services that are in addition to those that the home must provide.
Government assistance
If the value of your assets and income are below the relevant Government thresholds, the cost of your aged care will be further subsidised by the Government. In these cases, some or all of your
accommodation costs can be subsidised by the Government and you will only need to pay the basic daily care fee.

How to fund residential aged care
There are many ways to help fund your residential aged care costs. These range from renting or selling the family home, to specialised investment solutions offered by financial service providers.
The best place to start is by having a conversation with a financial adviser. They can help you navigate the complexities of funding aged care, leaving you to focus on finding the right aged care home or home care provider.

Case study
Meet Jane
Jane is 86 and widowed. She was living on her own for some time after her husband passed away but has become frail with age. After researching her options with the help of her family, Jane was assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) as requiring residential care and found a suitable aged care home to move into.
The basic daily fee
This fee is paid by everyone entering residential aged care and is currently $51.63 per day (as at 20 September 2019). Jane will be required to therefore pay $18,845 a year.
The means-tested care fee
Jane has a home worth $650,000, $50,000 in cash and $5,000 in personal effects. Jane will be required to pay a means-tested care fee of $551 a year.
Accommodation costs
Jane’s residential aged care home is advertised for $350,000.
Total fees and costs
Jane will therefore need to fund a total of $369,396 in the first year. This includes $350,000 for her accommodation in the aged care home which she can choose to pay as a lump sum refundable deposit or rent style periodic payments or a combination of both.

DISCLAIMER

The information/advice provided in this website is General Advice Only. It has been prepared without taking into account any of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain a Product Disclosure Statement relating to the products mentioned, and consider the statements before making any decision about whether to acquire products.

We take your privacy seriously and as such we, or any of the Financial Services Partners financial advisers, will never ask you to transfer money via email request unless we have spoken to you in person or the transfer is part of an existing arrangement between you and your financial adviser. If you receive any such requests that are outside the agreed arrangements you have with your financial adviser, please contact our office immediately to confirm the validity the request before you take any action – info@fspgroup.com.au.

1  Based on rates and thresholds as at 20 September 2019.
2  Aged care homes wanting to charge accommodation prices of more than $550,000 as a lump sum must have their prices approved by the Aged Care Pricing Commissioner. Aged Care Financing Authority | Annual Report on the Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Sector – 2018.
3 Aged Care Financing Authority | Annual Report on the Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Sector – 2019.

This case study relates to a hypothetical person, Jane, and is provided for illustrative purposes only. It is based on information that is current as at 20 September 2019 unless otherwise specified and is provided by Challenger Life Company Limited ABN 44 072 486 938, AFSL 234670 (Challenger). It is intended to be general information only and has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs.

Aged Care

Aged Care

As the Australian population over the age of 70 increases,  aged care is an issue that will be of increasing concern to a growing number of Australians. It is not just older Australians who need to understand how aged care works – anyone with aging parents may find themselves having to understand a complex system at very short notice.

Plan ahead

The stress of entering aged care can be considerable and this isn’t helped by the overwhelming range of facilities on offer and the complexity of funding arrangements. The emotional upheaval on all parties can be eased by early planning and open discussion within families. And although this may be a difficult topic to talk about, planning for aged care is a wise course of action.

Government assistance

The government provides substantial assistance with the costs of aged care, and eligibility for government support is determined by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). Aside from making an assessment of the need and level of care required, the ACAT may also be able to assist in finding an appropriate place.

Types of fees 

In most cases a contribution towards the costs of aged care is also required. Contributions vary and depend upon income, assets and pensioner status. Fees include  daily care fees, means tested fees, and accommodation fee. 

How we can help you

Seeking advice before making a decision about aged care is important due to the options available, the complexities and the financial implications that need to be considered. We can help you navigate the complexities and efficiently manage and plan for you or your family’s aged care needs. 

Arco Advisers are also proud members of the BUPA Aged Care Financial Services Guidance Panel.

Contact

Let's chat about AGED CARE

If you would like to start a conversation about aged care please call us to talk to one of our aged care specialists.

Email: admin@arcogroup.com.au

Tel: 03 9562 0742