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  • Nathan Fradley

An Introduction to Aged Care

Updated: Jun 20

Intended Audience: A family member of someone needing to consider Aged Care

As we journey through life, many of us find ourselves stepping into roles we never anticipated. One such role is that of a caregiver for our aging parents.

Navigating the aged care system can feel overwhelming, but understanding the basics can empower you to make informed decisions for your loved ones, and reduce the stress on yourself and your family.

What is My Aged Care?

In Australia, MyAgedCare is the support system for people in their later years who can no longer live independently. The federal government runs and funds this system, ensuring that facilities receive the necessary support to provide quality care. The level of funding an Aged Care facility receives is influenced by the financial positions of its residents, which means understanding the financial aspects of Aged Care is crucial.

There are a lot of components to the system, and even more acronyms so it is easy to get wires crossed, so bear with me.

ACAS Assessment: An Aged Care Assessment Service/Team (name is state dependent)(ACAS) in assessment determines the level of care required and helps in planning the appropriate services. It's essential to organize this as soon as your parents show signs of needing assistance. Without this assessment your parents cannot access either of the Home Care or Residential Care facilities. This assessment can take 6 weeks to hold, so If you have a parent in hospital right now, and they cannot safely return home, you are able to get the ACAS assessment completed in the hospital. Speak to the Social Worker on shift and they can help organise this.

  1. Home Care: This includes services provided to your parents while they still live at home. It's an excellent option for those who need assistance but are not ready to move into a residential facility. Home care packages are designed to support your loved ones in their daily activities, ensuring they maintain a level of independence. The government will allocate your parent a level of funding, which you then use with private service providers and if you can find a good balance here is an ideal situation.

  2. Residential Care: When living at home is no longer feasible, residential care facilities provide full-time care. These facilities offer a range of services, from basic accommodation and meals to more intensive nursing care, depending on the needs of the residents. Often this move is substantial, challenging for both your parent, but also your family.

If you have a parent in hospital right now, and they cannot safely return home, you are able to get the ACAS assessment completed in the hospital. Speak to the Social Worker on shift and they can help organise this.

There is another assessment called the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) which primarily focuses on entry level care, and lower-level home care packages via the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). I won’t cover this in this blog as there are already to many acronyms.


The Role of Centrelink

Centrelink plays a significant role in aged care with ,any of the financial assessments and support mechanisms are tied to Centrelink's criteria. Centrelink also administer the assessment of the means tested fee and Calculate the Means Tested Fee for Aged Care facilities. Given that if you are acting for your parent its valuable to list as their correspondence nominee, or get your Financial Adviser to do so.

The Fees

The Aged Care funding model is both beautiful in that every Australian can afford care, and complex, in that working out how much they need to contribute towards this care can be complicated.

There are four standard fees you can pay to an Aged Care Facility to care for a loved one.

Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD):

  • A lump-sum payment made to the aged care facility, which is refundable when your parents leave the facility. This is best described as paying for their ‘home’. IT is not required that you pay all or any of this lump sum, however any unpaid amount attracts interest, which is paid as a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP).

Means-Tested Care Fee (MTCF)

  • Think of this as paying for care. It is Means Tested meaning that the contribution is towards the cost of care is calculated, based on your the residents income and assets (their financial means). This assessment shares a lot of similar rules as the Centrelink Aged Pension with a few minor changes we will cover in another blog.

Basic Daily Fee:

  • Think of this as covering basic living costs such as meals, cleaning, and laundry. Everyone pays the same amount no matter their financial position - with it being pegged to 85% of the Single Person Aged Pension amount.

Additional Services Fee:

  • Not all facilities charge this, however it is increasingly common. This is a cost, usually ranging from $1-20 a day (sometimes more) for extra services like higher-quality meals or entertainment options. In my experience most of this goes towards providing much better food and comfort for a resident and is very worthwhile.

In Closing

The emotional complexity of moving a parent into Aged Care cannot be understated. It's a challenging transition that requires both practical and emotional support.

Family discussions and planning are crucial to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that your parents' wishes are respected.

As a Financial Adviser it is my role to represent your parent going into care, ensuring their best interests are at the heart of all decision making, communicating with all family members and taking the burden of complexity, stress and pressure off whomever has been charged with taking the reins and navigating getting their loved one comfortable and safe.


  • For more information or to book an assessment visit MyAgedCare:

  • If you suspect a loved one may be experiencing elder abuse contact the Eldar Abuse Phone Line on 1800 353 374.

  • If you think they are in immediate Danger Ring 000 or make a non urgent report to Crime Stoppers in your state.


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