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Navigating aged care in Australia

As you get older – and for those living with dementia, as the symptoms of dementia progress – it may become difficult to manage everyday tasks on your own. You may require help with cleaning, health issues, or moving around.

Aged care is the support provided to older people who need help in their own home or can no longer live at home.

Services can include:

  • personal care and health care
  • help with everyday living such as shopping, housework and food preparation
  • assistive equipment and home modifications
  • accommodation.

Aged care services can help you stay connected to your community, take care of your health and safety and remain independent.

There are two key pathways for aged care in Australia:

  • government subsidised
  • private (fee-for-service).

Government-funded aged care services

My Aged Care is the starting point to finding and accessing Australian Government-funded aged care services. You can connect with My Aged Care by phone on 1800 200 422, via the website or in person at some Services Australia centres.

You can have a family member or support person act as your representative at any step of your My Aged Care journey.

Where to start your aged care journey

Useful information and resources for starting your journey with My Aged Care.

Please see the steps below to access government subsidised home care.

Step 1: Check your eligibility and apply

Learn about the types of aged care services and check your eligibility.

Once you have checked you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply online or by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. If you are eligible for an assessment you will receive a call from an assessment team to schedule an appointment for an assessor to visit you.

Step 2. Your assessment

An aged care assessor will do an in person assessment with you, usually at your home. Aged care assessments involve screening and checks on how you are managing day-to-day chores such as showering, cooking, shopping and cleaning. You will be asked about your general health and what kind of help or care you feel you need.

For more information head to the My Aged Care website: Prepare for your assessment

Step 3: Finding a service provider

If you are eligible for services you will receive a support plan. Once you have received your support plan your assessor may refer you to a service provider or you can find your own service provider. You can also use information on this website to help find the right provider for you.

When picking the best provider for you, there are a few things to keep in mind. Each organisation will offer services in a unique way and may charge different fees. Before making a decision, consider your own preferences, availability of services and your needs, budget and location.

For more information head to the My Aged Care website: What happens after your assessment?

Step 4: Manage your services

You can change your My Aged Care services if your situation changes. You can do this by using the online My Aged Care account, calling My Aged Care or speaking with your current provider. This might include changing when your services are delivered, the type of care you receive and the organisation who delivers your services.

You can also apply for a new assessment if your care needs change.

For more information head to the My Aged Care website: Manage my services

Costs for aged care

The cost of aged care services varies from person to person. It's determined by the type of care you're entitled to, the aged care provider you pick and your financial position. While the Australian Government may contribute to the cost of your treatment, you will also be asked to contribute if you can afford it.

We recommend that you consult with a financial professional who can help you navigate the decisions involved in the transition into aged care and any of the costs involved.

Understanding costs for aged care services

A resource outlining aged care costs, where you can use the simple cost estimate feature.

Income and means assessments

Some of your aged care costs will depend on your financial circumstances. You can find information about how much you might be expected to pay for Home Care Packages or can in a an aged care homes here.

Private self-funded home care services

Many companies and organisations offer fee-for-service home care. You don't need an assessment and you can contact organisations directly to find out what care they provide. You choose which services you want to purchase and you're responsible for paying the full costs.

This option is ideal if you:

  • need home care services immediately
  • are looking to specifically tailor your care to meet the exact services you need
  • are waiting for government funding, but need care services while you wait
  • are under the age of 65 and not eligible for government funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or the Queensland Community Support Scheme (QCSS).

You can also use information on this website to help find the right provider for you.

*Fees, staff expertise and the quality of care to meet your needs may vary, so we recommend you research to make sure you get the service you want.

Help navigating aged care services

There are services to help you navigate aged care services and people who can advocate on your behalf.

Some organisations can help you navigate the aged care system at no cost, however, most service providers who deliver aged care services will also help you navigate the system. There are also paid private navigators available to help with care coordination.

My Aged Care have created an easy to use list of resources including brochures, forms, checklists and other documents to help you navigate the aged care system.

Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN)

An organisation providing free information about aged care services to help you navigate your journey. In some cases, intensive support navigators can offer one-on-one assistance.

Care Finder

Some older people need extra, intensive support to access aged care services and other supports in the community. Visit the website to find more about who is eligible and how to access support.

Navigate aged care in Australia

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge and their continuing connections to land, waterways and culture. We pay our respect to all Australian Indigenous Peoples and their cultures, and to Elders of past, present and future generations.

We would like to express our gratitude to all the healthy ageing advocates, including people living with dementia, older people, families, carers and health professionals, who contributed to the development of this portal. Thank you for sharing your stories and transferring your knowledge to make this portal purposeful and meaningful to support people in the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region.