A Guide To Aged Care

Picture this scenario, you have been living in your own residence for 30 years and your kids and friends are gently suggesting you should look at residential aged care. You have resisted as you love your independence and a lot of your best memories are in your home.

One day while visiting a shopping centre you are startled and have a nasty fall.

  • You end up in hospital with a broken hip and suddenly a lot of your choices are taken away from you.
  • You need 24 hour care and your hospital is trying to get you moved to a residential aged care facility as quickly as possible as they have a chronic bed shortage.
  • Incidentally your private health insurer is equally motivated to have you moved as then they stop paying your hospital bills.

The above is all too real a situation for many older Australians and ‘we get it’. Your home is the best place for you and for as long as possible. When your health is at risk by being at home then you should be considering residential aged care.

That being said there are a lot of great facilities available and we have a lot of clients that find the experience very positive. Moving from fending for yourself to twenty four hour care with a whole range of services at your fingertips is not all bad. It can ease the pressure on family and friends and improve the health of the new resident. Additionally there are organised activities that keep the mind and body active and there may be a whole host of new friends you have the opportunity to meet.

‘Change’ is the real challenge for many residents to deal with; however, if I can quote Paul Enright “Change is painful when done to you and exhilarating when done by you”. If this change can be embraced it will be a good experience for all involved.

So you have a lot of questions and there seems to be a lot of information but not a lot of direction?

Firstly if you have made the decision an Aged Care facility is definitely an option in the near future or you are the partner or Enduring Power of Attorney for someone who needs to enter a residence, there are some traps to avoid and some fairly expensive mistakes that can be taken off the table.

Tips and Traps:

  • Don’t rush out and sell the family property to fund your access to a residence. This may be a solution but it is not necessarily the only solution. Even if you need to enter a residence quickly, the accommodation bond does not need to be paid immediately. There are usually options and we can help you with any negotiations.
  • Talk to an adviser as soon as possible. There are significant costs that can be avoided if managed correctly.
  • Many options are limited once you have locked yourself into a facility but even then it would be a very worthwhile conversation.

Aged Care Jargon

You are going to learn a whole new vocabulary.


  • The Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). ACAT personnel are usually based in hospitals and consist of health care professionals – e.g. doctors, nurses and social workers.
  • The ACAT team will assess your need for assistance and decide what level of services you require.
  • There is no charge for this assessment and you can locate the nearest ACAT to you by calling Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 – or alternatively you can go to their website www.commcarelink.health.gov.au.

Accommodation Costs

  • Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD)
  • Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) – alternative to RAD

Ongoing Care Fees

  • Basic Daily Care Fee
  • Means Tested Fee assessed against income and assets
  • Extra Service Fees

Retention Amount

  • The monthly amount that may be deducted from the accommodation bond for the length of your stay up to a maximum of five years (60 months) This is set by the Government when a resident enters care permanently.

And then there is Centrelink!


You will also find there are big difference between facilities and the services they offer. Extra services come at a cost but they can make a big difference to lifestyle and comfort.

  • Look at residences in your preferred area and get a ‘feel’ for the various options. Everyone has different tastes and what might be perfect for one resident could be very uncomfortable for another.
  • Unfortunately there isn’t always availability so you need to have more than one option.

If you are starting to think this could be confusing, you would be right. This is where RFS Aged Care comes in.

Click here to find out what we can do for you.