Many older Australian wish to remain living at home for as long as they can.
For many, it’s important they remain in their local communities, where they have friends and family nearby, they know their neighbours, and are familiar with the nearby facilities.
The familiarity of home can also be reassuring to older people. The feeling of being immersed in a home they’ve created, a reflection of their life journey and rich with memories, can also be hugely comforting.
With the Federal Government now offering more home-care packages than ever, more and more Australians will be able to grow old in the comfort of their own homes.
As of 30 September 2018, there were 91,847 people receiving home-care packages, an 8.1 per cent increase in only six months and an increase of 28.6 per cent since 30 June 2017.
So, what is a home-care package?
Home-care packages are care and support services that are subsidised by the Federal Government, with the aim of keeping people living independently at home for as long as possible.
Some services covered by home-care packages may surprise you!
- Pet support – with 38 per cent of Australian owning a dog and 29 per cent with a cat, many older people require help taking care of a pet. You can use some of your home care package to cover pet support.
- Companionship – loneliness is one of the most serious issues for older people, both in terms of their health and their quality of life. You can use your home care package simply for companionship at home.
- Social support – your home care provider can take you to visit social support groups or on fun outings to do things you like to do, such as going to a movie, or visiting friends.
- Taxis – home care can also be used for taxi vouchers to help you get around.
- Manicures – home care providers may be able to provide manicures, which can be especially helpful for those whose fine motor skills may be affected by medical conditions.
- Massages – massages can help to relieve stress. Lymphedema massage can help to reduce swelling in the legs. Your home care provider may be able to provide massages.
- Technology – home care packages can be used to purchase technology and to learn how to use it. Technology is an essential part of everyday life these days, whether it be to keep in touch with friends or family, or to set up reminders for when to take your medication.
- Creative activities – you can use some of your home care package on creative pursuits, such as dance, painting or music sessions – which can deliver great improvements to your mental wellbeing and allow you to continue following your passions.
Other home care services include:
- Help with showering, toileting, and dressing
- Help with mobility
- Help with communication
- Help to prepare meals, and assistance eating
- Help can be provided with continence management
- Aids such as crutches, walking frames, mechanical devices for lifting, pressure relieving mattresses and bed-rails can be provided, and you can receive help in learning how to use them
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Hearing and vision services
- Help with shopping
- Help to visit the doctor or attend social activities
- Help managing skin integrity
- Medication management
- Help keeping your home clean and tidy
- Washing, sorting, folding and ironing laundry
How do you access a home care package?
If you are interested in receiving subsidised home care, the first thing you need to do is be assessed. You can book an assessment by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
During the assessment, an Aged Care Assessment Team will work out which home care package is appropriate for you.
You will be assessed as eligible for a home-care package if you need extra services to enable you to remain living at home.
There are four different types of home-care packages:
- Level 1, for basic care
- Level 2, for low-level care
- Level 3, for intermediate care
- Lvel 4, for high-level care needs.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want
If you need a particular type of help at home or if there’s something that you’re keen to do, even if it isn’t on the list of your home care provider’s services, it’s worth asking if they can help you – after all, the idea of home care packages is to provide consumer directed care, and for the consumer to have control of how their package is spent.