Home Care Packages for Over 65’s: What they are & how to get one for you or a loved one
Senior years do not have to automatically imply a loss of dignity and self-reliance, however certain issues do arise as more and more candles appear on the birthday cake! Getting appropriate assistance at home is an important part of living a fulfilling, safe, and dignifying life without having to resort to care homes.
We’ve put together this article to provide more information about Home Care Packages to help you decide if it could be a good choice for you or a loved one.
What are Home Care Packages and what do they offer?
Outside assistance is available through the Home Care Package programme provided by the Australian government. This program aims to help senior citizens above age of 65 maintain a high quality of life at their own home, while getting care adequate for their individual level of needs.
The packages also include care services for younger people with disabilities or other care needs not covered by other services.
How does Home Care work in Australia?
The first thing you should know is that Home Care Package funding isn’t paid directly to the service users. Instead, the clients pick an approved Home Care Package Provider, who will handle the budget on their behalf.
According to the Department of Health 2021 data, there were 939 approved Home Care Package providers in Australia.
Depending on the needs of the client, there are four levels of care.
- Level 1 - basic care needs.
- Level 2 - low-level care needs.
- Level 3 - intermediate care needs.
- Level 4 - high-level care needs.
Depending on the needed level of care, the home care packages may include some or most of the following services:
- Bathing, hygiene, and grooming - helping maintain personal hygiene and grooming standards.
- Nursing - treating and monitoring medical conditions at home.
- Therapy - podiatry, physiotherapy, and other therapies to sustain movement and mobility.
- Meals and food preparation - to ensure quality nutrition for the client.
- Help with impairments or continence - help in managing conditions and maximising personal independence at home.
- Cleaning, laundry, and chores - to help keep home neat and clean.
- Home and garden maintenance - to keep a home and garden in a sustainable, safe condition.
- Home modifications for mobility or other issues - to increase or maintain the ability to move around the house independently and safely.
- Aids for independence - help with mobility, communication, reading, and personal care limitations.
- Transport - to be able to go about appointments and community activities, and mobility aids such as walkers and wheelchairs.
- Social outings, groups and visitors - facilitate and maintain social bonds between the client and their community.
The packages do not cover “extra” activities such as entertainment, or expenses such as mortgage payments.
How to apply for a Home Care Package
The first step in the process is an assessment to check whether you’re eligible to receive a HCP, and at what level. In the case you’ve already picked your service provider, the company can make a referral for an assessment to My Aged Care on your behalf. Alternatively, you can request an assessment by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or applying online.
As the process can take a few months, it may be useful to have a provider arrange for some level of care through your private funds, if needed.
When the assessment is complete, My Aged Care will send you a letter that specifies whether you are suitable for a Home Care Package, and the level of care that has been approved to you. After that, you’ll be put on the official waitlist and notified when your package becomes available for you to use. While you wait, seek out an adequate service provider. Besides being ready to receive services as soon as they arrive, if you choose provider at this point they may be able to help you with the paperwork and the entire procedure.
Home Care Packages – Over Subscribed
Home Care packages have been over subscribed with long waiting lists, and there have been many complaints about the level of funding provided with home care packages not being adequate. This is especially true for those with a disability (& who don’t quality for the NDIS due to their age).
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was formed two years ago. This resulted in 80,000 new home care packages - the first 40,000 put in use over 2021-2022, and the other half expected in 2022-2023.
The ultimate promise is that 275,598 home care packages will become available to senior citizens by June 2023.
Hopefully these additional packages will allow more elderly Australians to continue living in their own homes and still have funding available to cater for their own specific needs in the home setting.
To Sum It Up
A Home Care Package provides support to help senior citizens remain active and independent in the coziness of their homes while having their particular age-related needs met.
However, the way towards a Home Care Package is not quick and straightforward. Start planning ahead, find your service provider in a timely manner, and arm yourself with patience. At the end of the day, being able to keep your independence and quality of life is worth the effort.