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Understanding aged care homes

If you need ongoing help with day-to-day tasks, an aged care home can provide you with the support you need to live safely and well. A nursing home is a home-like environment where you will have your own space and are looked after by professional care staff. You'll be part of a community with other residents and have access to a wide range of services and lifestyle options.

Last updated: July 8th 2022
Group of aged care residents sitting together smiling and talking (Source: Shutterstock)
When living in a nursing home you can choose to socialise with other residents in the communal areas (Source: Shutterstock)

Key Points:

  • Living in a nursing home can give you peace of mind that you will have care and assistance when you need in, including in emergencies
  • There are many different styles of rooms that you can choose from and these can differ between facilities
  • If you want to add a little luxury to your stay in aged care you can pay for extra 'hotel style' services

There are lots of different types of aged care homes, catering to people with different care needs, interests and backgrounds, so it's important to look around before deciding on the home that best meets your needs and lifestyle requirements.



​Benefits of aged care homes

When living in an aged care home you'll have access to different accommodation options and a range of services, including personal and clinical care and hotel-type services that meet your everyday needs.

Life in a nursing home will be easier for you and you can benefit from getting help with tasks that you may have found difficult before. You can have peace of mind that staff can be called on if you need assistance and in case of an emergency you'll be able to access immediate attention and support.

You can choose to socialise with other residents in the communal areas, take part in the different leisure activities many homes organise for their residential community or simply find a quiet corner or remain in your room to enjoy your own company.

You can still enjoy hobbies or activities outside the home that you took part in before moving into aged care, such as spending time with family and friends in the local community.

Accommodation

The aged care home will provide you with a room and access to private or shared bathroom facilities. Your room will include a bed and some basic furnishings but you are generally able to bring some small pieces of your own furniture such as a chair or small cabinet.

In some homes you can share a room or move in as a couple so you can continue to live together even if only one of you needs to move into aged care.

The types of rooms on offer at different facilities can vary and cater to a range of budgets. Providers can set their own prices for the accommodation but must publish how much they charge for a room.

There are shared spaces too, for meals or social interaction, and some homes have shared facilities such as a library, café, games room, wellness centre or a private room available to use to celebrate special occasions with family and friends.

Care services

Everyone living in an aged care home will have access to the same types of care services to help them live well and ensure quality of life.

You'll be able to get help with all aspects of personal care, including taking a shower or bath, getting dressed and going to the toilet. You may need help getting out of bed in the morning, managing your daily medications or making sure you have access to communication tools such as hearing aids or mobility aids. The staff in your nursing home will help you with all of this and more.

If you have specific health care needs, staff can provide you with a wide range of clinical care requirements, access to continence aids or help to set up appointments and arrange visits for therapists such as physiotherapists or podiatrists.

Staff can also support residents with specific needs, for example those with cognitive decline such as dementia, or provide palliative care services at the end of life stage.

Hotel style services

You can expect to receive a number of other services to make your day-to-day life in an aged care home as comfortable as possible. These are sometimes referred to as hotel style services and include meals, laundry and cleaning services as well as social activities in the home.

You can expect to get three meals a day, served either in your room or in a common area, as well as morning and afternoon tea, and staff will make any dietary or cultural modifications you require.

Basic toiletries such as towels, soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste are also included as well as your personal laundry and washing of bedding.

Social activities in the home could include games or arts and crafts but you may also go out in the community, for example to go shopping or have coffee at a café.

Hotel style services also include maintenance and general upkeep of the aged care facility such as heating and cooling, cleaning, maintenance and groundskeeping.

How much does it cost?

Aged care providers have to be approved by the Government as an accredited provider to be able to receive Government funding for your care.

Providers can set their own prices, within a certain limit, and cost will vary from one home to the next. How much you will pay depends on a number of things, including the aged care home you choose, as well as your income and assets.

Generally, the cost for aged care can be broken down into three parts:

  • The basic daily fee - a maximum amount set by the Government that every resident of an accredited aged care home pays. This fee is currently $54.69 per day
  • Accommodation costs - this amount pays for your room and depends on what room type you choose. It is based on a means assessment
  • Means tested care fee - a payment for the care services you receive which is based on a means assessment

On top of these costs, you can choose to pay for luxury add ons such as a larger room, daily newspaper delivery, Pay TV subscription, access to massage therapies or a mini bar in your room. These are called additional or extra services and you will be charged an additional fee for this. Paying for additional services doesn't mean you get higher quality care than other residents.

Related content:

Daily living in a nursing home
Tips for moving into a nursing home
Urgent admission into aged care

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