065: Navigating aged care

Grace Petherick

At some stage, we all have to navigate appropriate aged care for ourselves or a loved one, so in this episode we turned to aged care expert Grace Petherick to demystify it for us all.

Many of us are in the sandwich generation, and are the support people for parents as well as young children. Some of us are also of an age where we’re having to investigate aged care services for ourselves or our partner.

This can be an overwhelming task because, let’s face it, the aged care system in Australia is complex, unfamiliar and bureaucratic, and if your family member is suffering poor health or has had a health incident, it’s all the more anxiety-triggering.

About Grace Petherick

Global experience in service industries and the shock of accessing aged care for her grandparents sparked Grace Petherick’s passion to revolutionise an industry.

It became clear for her that what her grandparents had suffered was unacceptable, and it was time to shake up 100 years of unchanged service standards in aged care. 

Her visionary and innovative approach has attracted extensive investor and media attention, including placing as a finalist in the current Telstra Business Awards and winning a City of Melbourne Innovative Business Grant, for her business Age Up Health.

Our recent survey revealed that one in three of our listeners is doing life admin for a parent or elderly relative and that often includes researching aged care services. In this episode we discuss:

  • how the aged care system is very complex and waiting lists can create a lot of stress for families
  • that you shouldn’t wait until a crisis occurs to investigate aged care –  as soon as everyday things feel harder you should consider investigating options
  • the preventive measures you can put in place – allied health to improve balance, ramps and handrails
  • the differing roles for Residential Aged Care – including temporary respite and rehabilitation after a hospital stay
  • how to fund aged care – the first step should be the government website – My Aged Care 
  • you can also find information on aged care provider websites and there are paid aged care advisers you can access
  • the range of services and products that Home Care Package funding can be used for including home modifications, cooking and meal delivery, supplements, companionship and social support – anything to keep you safe and well at home
  • the assessment process for Home Care Packages – government assessors come to your home and consider what support/funding you are eligible for – a letter of support from a GP can be helpful
  • after your Home Care Package is approved – means testing is conducted by Services Australia to determine what (if any) income tested fee you will need to pay (there is an income and asset test similar to that for the Aged pension – the maximum contribution you can make is $40 per day)
  • after an assessment you receive a notification of your level of funding and estimated the waiting time until the funding will be available 
  • the wait list for a Home Care Package can be up to 9 months – while you are waiting you may be able to access CHSP or other organisations that may provide support – Carers Gateway and some providers provide limited free support while you wait
  • after the funding comes though you need to select from one of 900 providers within 56 days or you will lose the funding
  • 3 months before your funding is allocated you will receive notification and this is a good time to start selecting a provider
  • things to think about when selecting a provider include: what support you need, what level of admin you are willing to do, how they manage workforce, consistency of workforce, costs (care fee, administration fee, other fees including setup fee, exit fee, surcharges, travel fees)
  • that the comparison websites for Aged Care that exist are commission based – however Aged Care Guide seems to be most representative of the market
  • My Aged Care is an online application system and you don’t need a power of attorney to represent your parents as long as your parent advises My Aged Care that you may act on their behalf. 
  • My Aged Care is a paper based system so will receive a lot of letters which you need to keep!

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