At Blue Care, we understand it can be an emotional time when you realise that you or your loved one needs to move into a home that provides supported living or residential aged care. That realisation might come after a fall, or as the result of mounting health problems that often come with age.

In the case of injury or illness – often something serious enough to warrant a hospital admission – urgent action might be required. Add pressure on hospital beds into the mix, and you can suddenly find yourself forced to make important decisions quickly.

Learn how to move into aged care by following our steps to help you find – and fund – an aged care home that feels like home.

1. Get assessed for residential aged care

On the phone

Help with the cost of aged care support is provided by the Australian Government but first you or your loved one need to be registered with My Aged Care and answer some questions over the phone ahead of a formal assessment.

You will need Medicare card details, as well as information about you or your loved one’s care needs, details and results of any medical assessments. There will also be questions about managing at home with daily tasks such as showering, cooking, shopping and cleaning.

Good to know: Family members, friends or carers are welcome to be there for the phone call but formal consent must be given for a family member to act as a representative.

At home or hospital

A face-to-face assessment will then take place in the home with a member of My Aged Care’s Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). In urgent cases, you or your loved one can have an in-hospital assessment.

The assessor will visit with a copy of your record and may also ask to speak with other people involved with your care, such as family members or carers. They may also ask permission to talk with GPs and other medical practitioners.

The assessor will want to know about any health concerns, what support is currently available and what support is likely in the future. They will ask how daily tasks and activities around the home are managed and if there are any memory problems.

At this point, you or your loved one will be asked to complete an Application for Care form.

Good to know: If you are approved for entry into an aged care home, you will receive a confirmation letter, which you will need when you apply for placement in an aged home. Blue Care is on hand to help you at any stage in the process of finding an aged care home that suits you.

2. Apply for residential aged care funding

Before you can receive help with the costs of living in an aged care home, you need to provide details of your income and assets to the Department of Human Services, by completing the Permanent Residential Aged Care – Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment form.

The Australian Government helps with the cost of aged care services but you are expected to contribute if you can afford to. The department will look at your assets and your income to determine how much you need to pay for your accommodation and if you need to pay a means-tested care fee. There are caps in place which limit how much you can be charged over your lifetime.

If you already receive a means-tested pension, the department has a lot of that information already so you will need to complete only some parts of the form. If you are not receiving a means-tested pension (this includes if you are on a blind pension, war widow/widower pension, veteran’s disability or allowance), you need to fill out the whole form.

Good to know: You should complete the Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment form as soon as possible, because it can take several weeks. You can ask for an income and assets assessment before you start receiving care.

3. Understand the costs of an aged care home

There are generally three components to the cost of living in an aged care home.

  • Daily Care Fee – for meals, laundry etc
  • Accommodation Fee – for accommodation
  • Means-Tested Fee – for healthcare needs

We have detailed all the ins and outs of these costs in our guide to funding your aged care home. And we list individual pricing for each of our aged care facilities.

Good to know: Be sure you understand clearly the costs you or your loved one will be required to pay before you sign any contracts or agreements. The net cost to your loved one will vary depending on their personal financial situation. 

4. Choose an aged care home

Of course you will want to learn as much as you can about you or your loved one’s future home. One of the best ways to do this, if possible, is to book a tour. You can also find out more about Blue Care’s aged care facilities by searching for a location on our website.

It can be reassuring to learn a bit more about the facilities, support and activities on offer. Aged care homes are places where new friendships are often forged and new skills learned.

Good to know: We have a guide to choosing the right provider with tips on what to look for and what questions to ask so you can make the best decisions for you or your loved one.

5. Apply to an aged care home

You can apply to as many aged care homes as you like. If you’re applying from hospital, however, you may be encouraged to make five applications and accept the first vacancy you are offered in order to free up the hospital bed.

To apply for a Blue Care home, you can call our friendly customer service team on 1800 838 929. We can walk you through the process step by step and complete an application for you over the phone, for one or more homes. We’ll call you as soon as a vacancy arises. If there is a waiting list, we’ll check in with you every month to make sure your circumstances haven’t changed. In some cases, it may be necessary to take up a second or third preferred option until the place you have your heart set on becomes available.

When a room is available, you will be given a formal offer through the Permanent Residential Service Agreement.

Good to know: The agreement is a 42-page document, and it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities before signing it.

6. Move in

Moving home is stressful at the best of times, but downsizing from a house to a room is daunting – and it’s brave. Packing up a family home is a big, time-consuming job, but it’s also a special time to reflect on the memories, love and support family connections bring. 

You or your loved one might feel more in control during this process by choosing cherished items to bring along and finding reassurance that there is a lot to look forward to in the new home (grab a copy of the activities schedule). It can also help to have some familiar soft furnishings and mementos in the room before you or your loved one arrive. A care package of special treats or flowers is another way to feel nurtured and settled.

Good to know: Residential care allows you or your loved one to find the extra care to continue doing what’s important. Once settled in a safe and supported environment, you or your loved one can continue to live a real and fulfilling life, whether that be as a parent, grandparent or friend.

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