What are the different types of aged care?

20 July, 2021

As you start to get older, the more often words like “aged care”, “retirement village”, and “nursing home” seem to come up. But what is the difference between all the aged care options? How do you know which one is the best for your needs and personal situation?

To help make your research journey easier, we have compiled comprehensive explanations for the most common aged care options. So let’s start with the one everyone thinks of when it comes to assisted living. 

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are a varied category of aged care and cater to different needs and interests. They can be run by charities, private businesses, church groups, and communities. Nursing home facilities can specialise in offering support for certain conditions, such as dementia, motor neurone disease, or osteoarthritis, as well as varying levels of need, such as high or low. Typically, nursing homes are designed for people in need of significant care.

Government support may be available to you and help offset some of the costs of nursing homes in your local area of the Gold Coast. To access this support, you will need to complete an income and assets assessment on the My Aged Care website.

Residential Aged Care Facilities

The Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) model includes government-funded nursing homes, aimed at older Australians who are no longer able to be independent in their own homes. The facilities are comparable to hospital wards with a central nurses station. You are able to choose between single or shared rooms and ensuite or shared bathrooms. 

RACF has access to experienced, usually 24/7 care through registered nurses and a team of carers. Within this model, meals, activities, equipment, and basic aids are included. 

As RACF is a government-funded aged care model, access to the facilities is means tested with a fully refundable entry contribution, and applicants with higher needs are often prioritised. Residents and their families don’t pay interest on funds or receive capital gain upon exit. More information is available here.

Government Home Assisted Programs

At-home care is a great option for those wanting to continue their life where they know and love, in their own home. The Government has two programs to make assisted living at home easy and affordable. They are:

  • Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)
  • Home Care Packages (HCP)

To be eligible for the CHSP, you must be aged over 65 years (or 50 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) or aged over 50 years or older (45 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) if on a low income, homeless, or at risk of being homeless.

CHSP is the care model for older Australian’s who need an extra set of hands to keep themselves independent. Those on the program have access to services, including home maintenance, pre-made meals, transport and housing care. These services may incur a fee, depending on the scale of the service and your finances. It’s important to note you may also have to pay hourly rates and admin fees, which can be quite expensive and may not be clear when investigating at-home services. How much you pay for services is dependent on your eligibility assessment. You can read more about CHSP here.

The HCP is the aged care model for those with more complex needs, such as needing assistance with many everyday tasks or the care required is more intensive. This program is split into four levels of care and has a resulting scale of costs:

  • Level 1: Basic care needs – approximately $9,000 annually
  • Level 2: Low care needs – approximately $15,750 annually
  • Level 3: Intermediate care needs – approximately $34,250 annually
  • Level 4: High care needs – approximately $52,000 annually

The services available for HCP are similar to those for CHSP. Whilst CHSP allows access to one or two services, HCP recipients can choose multiple services in a coordinated approach. To find out more about HCP, click here.

It can be frustrating going into new care accommodation and having to explain your medical history again. So it is worthwhile to note, if you have been approved for HCP services and you needed to go into short-term respite care or moved into a Lifestyle Community like Odyssey, the HCP services still apply. This means you can experience a continuity of care, no matter where you are. 

Hybrid Models

But what if you want to have a home and access to on-site first-class care 24/7? This is where hybrid models, like Odyssey, come in. 

Odyssey Lifestyle Care Communities falls under the Retirement Villages Act 1999, meaning residents live in their own fully articulated 1 or 2 bedroom apartments. 

At Odyssey, you can age independently in your own home, whilst still having access to nursing home-level care—that is offered to you in the comfort of your own home. Our care and services are delivered at cost and by a dedicated on-site team, including 24/7 registered nurses. We can even partner with your own care team to ensure you are receiving the best care possible.

Hybrid aged care models often tend to prefer residents needing low to moderate care. At Odyssey, our residents have access to high-level care as well and we can accommodate those with dementia, pending assessment. If your need for care increases, the hours of nursing support simply increases and still is offered in your own home at cost. When living within the Odyssey community, you are still able to access your existing HCP to help pay for your care, services, equipment, transport, maintenance, and more.

In this community, residents have greater freedom, such as being free to come and go as they please, couples staying together, having guests stay and pets being welcome. For those wanting to be in control of their lives as they age but understand they are in need of more care, this is the best and most dignified alternative to aged care. 

Aged Care Assist Service

If you are looking to find out more about the different options available to you, Odyssey offers a free Aged Care Assist Service. Our team can speak with you and offer balanced, unbiased advice based on your personal situation. Whether you are looking into joining Odyssey Lifestyle Care Community or not, the goal is to assist in guiding you through the decision-making process. To learn more about our program, visit here.