Home Care Package and Eligibility
As we grow older, we all aspire to lead our lives with utmost independence, cherishing the comfort of the sanctuaries we have created for ourselves. Although this has been challenging in the past, My Aged Care (MAC), along with support services such as Maple Community Services, are dedicated to transforming this reality.
My Aged Care Home Care Packages are a government funded program in Australia that provides support and services to help older Australians live independently in their homes for as long as possible. The program is part of the My Aged Care initiative, which aims to assist seniors in accessing the care they need.
At Maple, we strive to enable ageing Australians to experience fulfilling and self-reliant lives, surrounded by the warmth of their loved ones and the familiarity of our comforting environments. The best way to achieve this is by being informed of the opportunities available to you. Let’s explore the possibilities of home care packages, the eligibility requirements, and the process of accessing and utilising these essential services for ageing in place.
What is a home care package?
When yourself or a loved one requires help around the house to complete everyday activities and to live more comfortably in the home, a home care package with My Aged Care might be the best way to achieve this. A home care package allows elderly Australians living with disabilities to remain comfortably in their homes with the help of assistive support services.
Thankfully, many forms of home care are available, and can be subsidised by the Australian government, making home care affordable and accessible for everyone who needs it.
What is included in a home care package?
Service providers in Australia can provide a range of home care options to help individuals with the following activities:
- Bathing and hygiene
- Meals and food preparation
- Cleaning, laundering and other household chores
- Home and gardening maintenance
- Transport to and from appointments, activities and social events
- Conducting and helping with therapeutic activities
- Assistance with impairments or incontinence
- Determining what assistive apparatus may be used to enhance the usability of the home
- Help with learning to use assistive apparatus
Who is eligible for the home care package in Australia?
The first criteria for receiving home care fall under age and ability. An individual who qualifies for a home care package must be:
- Aged 65 or older (or 50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people), and;
- Living with a disability, dementia or other care needs that are not met through other specialist services.
After the initial criteria has been determined, eligibility is assessed based on health, mobility and personal circumstance. You can check your eligibility on the Australian Government My Aged Care website.
If you need help with any of the following, you may be eligible for government home care packages:
- Getting out of bed or chairs
- Going to the toilet
- Taking a bath or shower
- Getting dressed and undressed
- Eating a meal
- Preparing a meal
- Taking medicine
- Basic Housework
- Driving or taking public transport
- Shopping for groceries
- Managing money and paying bills
How do I apply for a care package eligibility assessment?
To find out if you are eligible to receive home care services an assessment will take place. Usually this is carried out in person and at your own home. Thankfully, the application for the assessment is quick and easy to complete online through the My Aged Care website. You can complete the form yourself or have a trusted family member or friend do it for you.
The application comes in three parts and takes up to 20 minutes:
- Eligibility check (5 minutes) – The application will ask you about your situation and what your current needs are.
- Your details (10 minutes) – You will need your medicare card to complete this step. If someone else is applying for you, the application will require both sets of personal information.
- Arranging the assessment (5 minutes) – You will need to provide details of who the assessor should contact to arrange the assessment.
Once your application has been completed, an assessor from the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will contact you to arrange an appointment. This assessment process will help them to determine the level of care necessary for you or your loved one and the type of support needed.
What are the types of aged care in Australia?
My Aged Care home care packages in Australia fall under four categories. Once you or your loved ones eligibility for home care services has been confirmed, the assessor can determine which category will best suit your needs.
- Level 1 aged care package: This includes a few visits from carers per week and covers basic daily needs.
- Level 2 aged care package: This level will include more frequent visits and a higher level of care.
- Level 3 aged care package: High levels of support and up to 5 daily visits may be needed at this level.
- Level 4 aged care package: At the highest level of home care services, care providers will visit daily and help with all aspects of home living.
Every single case is assessed by priority, and high priority cases will be assessed first. The waiting period for individuals to be assigned to a Home Care Package generally ranges between 3 and 6 months. If you or your loved one are considering home care, make sure you take the assessment as soon as possible to ensure care is implemented as it’s needed.
Who pays for home care in Australia?
During the home care assessment, your assessor will determine the home care payments. Although the government can subsidise home care services for individuals in Australia, your income and assets will be considered to undertake a means test. The means test will help to determine how much needs to be paid by you and how much is subsidised for your aged care package through the government funding.
You may also choose to access additional services that aren’t part of a standard package that can be covered separately from the subsidy. The great thing about home care packages is that individuals can apply for and manage their own home care package or have a loved one do it for them.
Home Care Services vs NDIS Independent Living
The main difference between My Aged Care and NDIS Independent Living is the age requirements. NDIS funding is available to Australians living with a limiting disability at any age, whereas MAC is primarily for ageing adults wanting to continue living at home.
In addition, MAC and NDIS can help you or your loved one to transition into assisted living facilities that continue to focus on your independence, promote social inclusion and an improved quality of life. It’s important to consider all of your options to determine which funding and form of care best suits your needs and will help you to live your best life well into the future.
If you’d like to discuss your home care options in more detail or have more questions regarding your personal situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of experienced professionals at Maple Community Services.