It’s not surprising that Rose Lodge in Wonthaggi has a big waiting list and a project underway to add a further 32 rooms when you consider the ideal conditions for residents. Activities supervisor, Margi Hill centre, has fun with residents Phyllis Malloy and Doris Arnold during an exercise session last week.
FROM Tuesday, July 1, a range of important changes to the aged care system come into effect.
The changes are expected to give older Australians more choice, more control, and more of the services they might need to stay in their own home for longer or to access their choice of a residential aged care place.
With around 3.5 million Australians needing some form of aged care by 2050, the government says that fundamental changes are needed now to ensure the aged care system is sustainable and puts control back into the hands of consumers.
Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, announced what amounts to a revolution in aged care last week:
“Whether you’re an older person who may need care in the near future, or if you have a loved one who is getting older, having conversations about aged care can be difficult.
“But the sooner we start talking about aged care and planning for it, the better the outcome for older people and their families.
“The most important thing older people and their families can do is to learn about the choices available, so they can plan and make the right decision.
“Consumers will now have access to an unprecedented level of information through the MyAgedCare gateway, where people can find about their care options, compare residential care prices and features and use an online estimator for an idea of what they can expect to pay for their care.
“People can contact the My Aged Care gateway on 1800 200 422 to speak to a real person, or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au.”
Changes starting from July 1 include:
• More support for older people to stay independent and in their own home through more home care packages to meet their needs.
• People will have greater choice and flexibility for how they pay for accommodation and services, whether it is a refundable accommodation deposit, a daily accommodation payment, or a combination of both, with 28 days to decide how they would like to pay.
• Transparent accommodation prices and services, with all residential aged care providers required to publish the maximum amount they charge for accommodation and extra services, giving older people and their families more choice and transparency in what providers charge.
• A new means test in residential care will help determine a person’s fair contribution, if any, to their care and accommodation, based on both their assets and income. New means test arrangements will also apply to home care.
• New capping arrangements will help make the system more affordable overall for individuals. A $25,000 annual cap to means tested care fees in residential care will be introduced, and caps will also be in place for home care, set at $5,000 a year for part pensioners and $10,000 a year for self-funded retirees. A $60,000 lifetime cap on means tested care fees across both home and residential care will limit the total cost an individual will spend on their care overall.
CEO at Rose Lodge in Wonthaggi, Bev Walsh has welcomed the changes, noting that each aged care facility had adopted its own cost structure and the best place to start was by accessing the excellent MyAgedCare website or by calling 1800 200 422.
“The important thing to stress is that nothing changes for existing residents. It’s only the new ones coming in so that will give us the time to adjust,” Mrs Walsh said.
“We have a 70 bed facility here and we’re in the process of adding 32 more rooms, so we’ll have time to see how the new cost structure affects us.
“We’re happy to give people a helping hand with information but there’s a formal process of assessment that comes first.
“Everyone’s situation is different and in most cases, people looking to access aged care should also be consulting a financial planner experienced in Aged Care.”
What you’ll find on ‘MyAgedCare’
WEBSITES and older Australians don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand but the new website, launched by the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services ‘MyAgedCare’ is a beauty.
Between yourselves and younger family members, you can easily get your head around the fine array of information available… so get started!
If you don’t know where to start, call 1800 200 422 where you’ll find extremely helpful call centre staff who can either help you with the information you need or get to started on the website.
Here’s an example of the information you’ll find when looking for residential aged care:
• ROSE LODGE, Wonthaggi: Single room + private ensuite. Maximum room occupancy one. You can be asked by an aged care home to pay accommodation costs, this is called an ‘accommodation payment’.
The maximum price that you can be charged for a room at Rose Lodge is a refundable deposit of $350,000 or daily payments of $64.15 or a combination of both. You have 28 days after entering a home to decide how you want to pay your accommodation payment. As an example of a combination payment for room a resident could pay, 50% of the price by a refundable deposit of $175,000.00 and 50% of the price by daily payments of $32.07. Room description: Single bed (electric high/low if required), bed linen and blankets, bedside tables, chairs with arms, personal laundry containers, wardrobe, blinds, curtains, bath towels, face washers. Room size, excluding ensuite, between 13m2 and 16.26m2). Common areas: Dining room, two activity rooms, one with billiards table, several lounges and sitting areas some with TVs, communal refrigerators, tea/coffee facilities and biscuits in some communal areas. Gardens with roses and other plantings. Park benches where residents can sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and sun and park views.
• WOORAYL LODGE, Leongatha: The maximum price that you can be charged for this room is a refundable deposit of $280,000.00 or daily payments of $51.32 or a combination of both. All rooms at Woorayl Lodge are private rooms with attached en-suites. Bedroom and en-suite sizes vary between 16.5M2 and 18.5M2. Rooms include large built-in wardrobe, electric Hi-Lo Bed, Shower chair, Ceiling fan, hydronic heating and over toilet seat if required. Room sizes are 12m2 to 14m2
• Woorayl Lodge has three Wings each with a suitably furnished common area where tea and coffee making facilities are available for residents to entertain guests for meals and special occasions. A small quiet room is available for private appointments as well as a large dining room and large separate lounge dedicated for residents activities. An external courtyard is accessible to all residents, enclosed walking paths and maintained gardens.
• GROSSARD COURT, Cowes: The maximum price that you can be charged for this room is a refundable deposit of $550,000.00 or daily payments of $100.80 or a combination of both.
Start your search at www.MyAgedCare.gov.au but it’s almost certain that your choice will come down to availability.