The Australian government offers different programs, known as aged care, to provide its elderly population access to necessary support for their daily living needs and other requirements. These programs include the Residential Aged Care, which started in 1997 to help the elderly access full-time residential care in senior facilities, and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), which was introduced in 2015 to provide immediate assistance to aging people.
The most recent elderly reform presented by the government to further meet the changing needs of its older population is the program that offers home care packages. Below are the key details that you should know about this government-subsidized program.
What Is It About?
As the name suggests, Home Care Packages (HCP) program offers older Australians with packages of different assistance and services so that they can enjoy a level of independence by living in their own homes. Unlike CHSP that only provides minimal support, HCP offers a wide range of services, which complement each other, to assure the most suitable care for the senior individual who desires to age in place.
Why Is It Important?
According to the research conducted by the Productivity Commission, more than 60 percent of seniors in Australia strongly desire to grow old in their own homes. This finding makes HCP essential, considering that the program allows older people to age in place more conveniently with the help of experienced professionals and care providers.
What Services are Included?
While the types of services provided depend on the home care package level granted to each senior beneficiary, HCP generally offers assistance in the following areas:
- General Wellbeing
- Personal care assistance like bathing, grooming, and other dressing
- Health and therapeutic support like taking medications, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and other forms of therapy
- Specialized aid, such as for people who have dementia or other medical conditions
- Meal assistance like food preparation and eating
- Safety and Security
- Household assistance like washing the dishes, cleaning the house, gardening, and similar chores
- Home improvement assistance related to aging like adding ramps and rails
- Social Needs
- Transport assistance for going around the community or for visiting the doctor
- Social support to help seniors participate in community-based group activities and similar interactions
How Does It Work?
Senior citizens who want to access the program should get in touch with My Aged Care. The agency will then refer the applicants for assessment to determine eligibility. If found qualified, the seniors need to search for a reliable HCP service provider that will offer the care assistance needed.
Note that while the government funds various aged care services, the aging person is expected to contribute if he/she has the financial means to do so. The service provider and the beneficiary need to discuss and agree on the cost of care before the senior starts receiving the services.
Once the financial aspect is settled, the senior and service provider will create a plan of care that is specifically suited to the needs, preferences, and budget of the aging individual. After that, an agreement will be signed between the beneficiary and service provider, and care assistance will commence.
If you or your aging loved one prefer to age in place comfortably without the financial burden, you may want to consider applying for home care packages. If you proved to be eligible, this program would allow you to partner with a reputable home care service provider that can address your specific aging requirements.