What Aged Care Support Services are Available for the Elderly at Home?
What Aged Care Support Services are Available for the Elderly at Home?
Are you an elderly person, or do you have an ageing parent? You may be wondering what in-home support services are available for older Australians.
Family caregivers can quickly become overwhelmed while trying to manage their own lives and the increasing needs of their loved ones. By arranging in-home care and other forms of assistance, you or your loved ones can remain independent and secure, while enhancing quality of life for both of you.
Assistance for the Elderly
Multiple forms of assistance are available to provide support services for older Australians.
These include both government-funded and community-based programs, with special options available for low-income households.
The primary goal for most older Australians is to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
You can help by working with programs in the community and applying for various types of assistance.
The assistance can supplement what family and friends are doing and will help your loved one to remain in their home as long as possible.
Many forms of assistance are free or subsidised for the elderly, while additional services can be obtained through care providers, centres, and community agencies.
Elderly support services include:
- Home Care
- Meals on Wheels
- Personal Safety Alarms
- Community Visitors Scheme
- Carer Gateway
- Continence Assistance
- Dementia Support
We suggest that you read through the following options to see what support services could be appropriate for you or your loved one. Most government-funded elderly support services require an assessment.
Home Care Services
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) is an Australian Government funded program.
It provides basic support services, such as housekeeping and shopping for groceries, so older Australians can stay at home and be more independent in the community.
To be eligible for this program, you or your loved one must be aged:
- 65 years or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people), or
- 50 years or older (45 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) and on a low income, homeless, or at risk of being homeless.
A face-to-face assessment will determine eligibility and ensure that the right care and support services are made available. These services can include help with meal preparation, personal hygiene, nursing care, and more.
A Home Care Package is a more comprehensive support option for older Australians.
Home Care Packages are designed for those with more complex care needs that go beyond what the Commonwealth Home Support Programme can provide, including assistive technology and home modifications to make your loved one’s home safer and more adapted to their health and mobility.
Home Care Packages are funded by the Australian Government, based on your assessed level of need.
Funding ranges from around $9,000 to $52,000 per annum.
The package itself is coordinated with a local home care provider, and can include services such as:
- Nursing care
- Allied health and therapy services
- Assistance with personal activities such as bathing, showering and dressing
- Meal preparation and diet/nutritional counseling
- Continence management
- Transport for shopping or to social engagements
- Social support
- Assistive technology
You or your loved one may need more specific types of support, for example, if they have an ongoing health condition that requires assistance for safety, health, clinical care, medication, hygiene, or nutritional reasons.
Navigating home care services can be a bit confusing, so we created a simple guide to home care to help you understand the options.
Meals on Wheels
Australia’s Meals on Wheels program provides nourishing, nutritionally balanced three course meals delivered for approximately $7.00-$10.00 per meal. This pricing structure may be subsidised, or an alternative rate offered, depending on whether or not you or your loved one are on a pension.
Meals can be provided for a short term period, for example, after hospitalization, or on an on-going basis. In addition to receiving a nourishing meal, Meals on Wheels volunteers also monitor the health and wellbeing of their clients, providing peace of mind for family members.
To access Meal of Wheels, find your local service provider and enquire about availability for your area.
Personal Safety Alarms
Personal safety alarms can be particularly valuable for older Australians, providing a way for family members, friends, and emergency support services to be quickly notified if your loved one needs aid.
You can apply for a government funded program such as Personal Alert Victoria (PAV), or use personal alert alternatives such as a personal alarm service, a community volunteer-run 'check-in' program, or a service that phones at regular intervals to check on your loved one.
Community Visitors Scheme
The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) arranges volunteer visits to provide friendship and companionship to older people who are at risk of feeling socially isolated.
Visits are available to anyone receiving government-subsidised residential aged care or Home Care Packages who is at risk of isolation or loneliness.
To access the Community Visitors Scheme, simply contact your loved one’s home care provider or aged care home and ask if they are eligible to receive a visit from a volunteer visitor.
The Carer Gateway is designed to support the family members and caregivers of ageing persons, to allow for their needs to be met and their concerns addressed.
You can access counselling, coaching, and skills courses, and connect with other carers to share experiences, gain insight, and receive advice in a supportive, safe space.
The Carer Gateway:
- Provides practical information and advice
- Helps you to get services and support
- Provides free counselling services over the phone
- Provides free coaching to help you in your role as a carer
- Let’s you connect with other carers through a community forum.
The Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS) is an Australian Government payment providing assistance to people with permanent and severe incontinence. It is a direct payment administered by Medicare, allowing flexibility, choice, discretion, and cost management to those who need continence products long term.
Dementia Australia is a national program with specialised support programs, services and education for people living with dementia, their family carers and family members, as well as the general public.
Dementia Australia has many free and readily available resources for you and your loved ones to access. The most direct way to access information about dementia, strategies, risk reduction and other topics is via their website at dementia.org.au.
Dementia Australia also has services and programs for people impacted by dementia, advice around rights and responsibilities, and support for Younger Onset Dementia (YOD). A range of education sessions, covering a variety of topics in a comfortable environment are also available.
Dementia Australia has an advice and support helpline and offers counselling to you and your loved one living with dementia. You can call the Dementia Helpline during business hours on 1800 100 500 or email them at email@example.com to speak to one of their trained staff members, confidentially.
Mayflower also offers specialised in-home dementia care and support for people who want to continue living independently in their own homes.
Respite care is designed give primary caregivers some time out to attend their own wellbeing, knowing that their loved ones are safe and well cared for.
Respite care can be delivered in your loved one’s own home by home care providers as part of a Home Care Package, giving you the space and time you need to see to your own physical, emotional, and mental health. You can also obtain respite care outside of Home Care Packages as a private client.
Check out our handy article about why in-home respite care is so important, and how Mayflower can help.
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