If your care needs are changing as you are getting older and you are struggling to do what you used to, you may be eligible to receive some help at home from the government.
Most of us want to live at home forever. It makes sense.
Who would want to leave their home and community to live in a regimented and unfamiliar nursing home which feels nothing like home?
It’s far better for an individual’s wellbeing to age amongst familiar surroundings, maintain their daily rhythm and schedule and enjoy their community.
To support elderly Australians to live at home, the government has developed a Home Care Package Program.
This is a type of government funding to help you remain living at home for longer.
It is provided by the Australian Government to help people aged 65 years and over to obtain the in-home care and supports they need to stay living safely and independently in their own home for as long as possible.
There are different levels of support and individuals can receive up to $52,000 a year.
Even if you are coping well today, it’s important to recognise that your needs will change over time and could change quickly so it’s best to be proactive and find what support might be available for you.
What services are provided by a Home Care Package?
Home Care Package services are based on your individual needs.
Depending on the level of Home Care Package you receive, you can get assistance for a range of different services including:
- Domestic assistance for household jobs like cleaning, clothes washing and ironing
- Transport for shopping or appointments
- Social support by taking you shopping, banking or just providing company for a chat
- Personal care assistance with bathing or showering, dressing and hair care
- Home maintenance for minor general repairs and care of your house
- Home modification ie installing safety aids such as alarms, ramps and support rails
- Nursing care where a qualified nurse comes to dress a wound or provide continence advice
- Food services such as providing meals at a community centre, preparing and storing food and delivering meals to your home
- Medication help in taking your medications
Am I Eligible for a Home Care Package?
To receive a Home Care Package, you will need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team at home.
During your in-home assessment visit, the assessor (usually a nurse, social worker, or other health care professional) will ask you questions about how well you are managing your day-to-day life.
They will give you some advice about the different types of care services that may help you to stay at home.
This assessment will determine if you are eligible for a Home Care Package and if so, which level.
There are four different levels, (levels 1, 2, 3 & 4).
You have the option to have a family member or advocate present at the assessment.
Will I have to pay?
The Australian Government pays for most of the cost of aged care in Australia.
Full pensioners do not need to make any contribution for a Home Care Package.
If you are a self-funded retiree, you will be asked to contribute.
Centrelink will advise you of the amount you will need to pay.
Any fees will be discussed during the care planning process and the amount agreed.
Is it worth taking a package if I’m a part-pensioner or self-funded retiree?
Whether or not a Home Care Package is right for you completely depends on your individual circumstances – everyone is different.
Part-pensioners and self-funded retirees will likely have to make a contribution to their Home Care Package.
This fee is determined by the government and dependent on your financial situation.
But don’t be too quick to say no to a package just because you may have to contribute.
It’s worth getting all the facts and figures before making a decision, particularly if you’re eligible for a level 3 or 4 package.
With higher-level packages especially, it’s often financially advantageous to accept the package even if you need to pay a fee.
Now is the perfect time to consider a Home Care Package.
It can take between six to 12 months to get approval for a package, so if you are interested, it’s a good idea to start the process now.
How do I apply for a Home Care Package?
To apply for a Home Care Package, you firstly need to register through My Aged Care.
You can go to the My Aged Care website and fill in an online form or call them on 1800 200 422.
Australian Multicultural Community Services (AMCS) can help you to understand Home Care Packages and assist you with your application.
AMCS has over 37 years of experience providing support to multicultural seniors and covers the whole of Melbourne and Geelong.
Our friendly team are highly qualified and can help you understand how to apply for a Home Care Package.
We can guide you through the application process and answer any question you may have.
Our speciality is working with multicultural communities and we have many Italian clients.
We have friendly staff that speak Italian and understand Italian culture and are ready to provide you with the information, support and the diverse services you need.
We understand that being able to stay in your own home can make a huge difference to your physical and mental wellbeing and improve your quality of life.
AMCS’ home care services will bring you peace of mind and relieve the stress of doing everything yourself.
Even during the pandemic, we continue to provide essential at home care to our clients whose health, independence and wellbeing is more important than ever with rigorous health, safety and hygiene protocols and practices in place.
Our promise to you is a quality professional service delivered by appropriately trained care workers who are reliable, punctual and, most importantly, friendly!
Shereen (pictured above) is one of our Care Advisors who can speak fluent Italian can help to answer your questions about Home Care Services.
Born in Italy, Shereen came to Australia 10 years ago.
Since she joined AMCS she has been helping Italian seniors to apply for Home Care Packages and clients to manage their Home Care Services.
Shereen enjoys the opportunity to enhance people’s lives.
She says: “I have been working in community services for a few years, particularly with the Italian community as a health care interpreter first. I enjoy working in the aged care sector and helping people as I can.”
Meet Rocco Surace
Rocco has lived in Australia for almost 70 years and migrated to Australia in 1951 with his brother from a small country town in Southern Italy.
The place where he grew up was a small community where everyone knew each other and it was also where Rocco first learned how to garden and grow fruits and vegetables.
Rocco is a very independent man and likes doing most things for himself.
For Rocco, life is about being active and he enjoys gardening, spending time with his extended family or cooking a home-made meal for them from the produce of his very own backyard.
A few years ago, Rocco decided that he could benefit from some help at home and applied for a Home Care Package.
AMCS helped Rocco to successfully obtain a Home Care Package and now he receives regular support from AMCS for domestic cleaning, gardening and transport.
Rocco says: “AMCS staff are very attentive and proactive when I need support. I am very happy with the support they give me, they are very generous with me and all the support they give to other seniors like me.”
Like to know more? Call us for a free information pack and advice
We can help you, your family and friends make important decisions about your care.
Our friendly staff can speak Italian:
Shereen: (03) 8371 2327
Roberto: 0488 207 113
AMCS: (03) 9689 9170