Living at home for longer is now easier for older people than ever before. There is a huge range of services available including preparing meals, transport, help in the garden, personal and nursing care.

There’s also a more flexible way to fund home care under Consumer Directed Care (CDC), providing older people with greater choice and control over the design and delivery of their care.

But when it comes to choosing who will deliver the services, how do you know who will meet your needs and provide the best value for money? There are five key things to consider.

Short-term needs and long-term objectives

When evaluating your options, remember it’s about setting you up for the future, plus meeting immediate needs. Perhaps you only need occasional help with gardening or housework now but is it worth looking at how your home might be modified to ensure you can continue living independently in the future?

Cost

 There are a few vital questions to ask to help you understand what you’re being charged for, including:

  • Is there an additional cost for weekend or evenings?
  • Is there a charge for extras beyond the hourly rate, for example travel?
  • What is the cost for specialised services?
  • Are there entry or exit fees?
  • Will I be charged an administration fee and what does it cover?
  • Will I get a monthly statement? Providers should give you a reconciliation of what has been spent and how much of your budget is left.
  • Can I top up my own package?

 Staff

Navigating aged care can be difficult, so ask the service provider if you will get a dedicated care coordinator who will spend time with you to understand your needs.

Places like Amana Living have ensured their coordinators are only focused on client care so you know you’ll get someone who is 100% dedicated to helping you manage the home care package, ensuring you continue to receive the right care as your needs change.

Also, ask whether you will have the same members of staff coming to see you or your parents. It’s important the staff are consistent so they can develop a relationship with you, understand your timetable, particular needs and preferences.

Service range and restrictions

A provider who has a wide range of services, without any restrictions on what you can buy and from who, will offer greater value longer term. There’s greater flexibility and means the support they provide can respond to your changing needs.

Purpose

Finally, what’s the passion or purpose of the organisation and does it align with your own beliefs and goals for the future? Your home care provider will be involved in your daily life so it’s important to select a partner that you are comfortable with and is supportive of your goals.

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