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What are your non-Government funded aged care alternatives?

There are a lot of options for Government funded aged care services that can suit all needs, but it does require meeting certain criteria to be able to access these services.

Key points:

  • Private home care can be quicker to secure compared to Government funded Home Care Packages

  • Supported and assisted living complexes allow you to live independently with additional support if and when you need it

  • You don't need to meet Government requirements to move into Supported Residential Services/Supported Residential Facilities (SRS/SFR) 

Two older people enjoying themselves with a carer
Services or care from a non-Government funded provider means you have to pay for it yourself not with Government assistance. [Source: iStock]

So what happens if you don't meet the criteria, can't or don't want to wait for services, or want to look at options that are not Government funded?

Depending on your circumstances, private home care, supported and assisted living complexes or Supported Residential Services/ Supported Residential Facilities (SRS/SFR) could be that alternative you are looking for.

Private home care

There are many reasons an individual may decide to hire private home care providers over Government funded providers.

The main problem with Government Home Care packages is the huge waiting list. The current waitlist for accessing funded Home Care Packages is around a year. 

If you can't wait to receive a Home Care Package, don't meet the Government eligibility criteria or want additional services to top up your Government supports, private home care could be an alternative.

You fully fund the care and services you receive, rather than receive a subsidy from the Government.

You can access the exact same services as you would if you were receiving Government subsidised home care and there is no cap on funding like there is with a subsidised Home Care Package.

Additionally, while you have to wait to receive a Home Care Package, you generally don't need to for private home care. The provider will talk with you about your care needs and provide the services you require.

You cannot receive any Government subsidy to go towards paying for the private provider, however, you can receive other services from Government funded providers. If you utilise private home care for services you weren't eligible for after Government assessment, this is known as "topping up" your care.

If you are currently receiving home care services from a Government funded provider, they may provide some care services as privately funded.

Supported and assisted living complexes

Complexes that are supported or assisted living are considered a mix between retirement villages or homes and aged care facilities.

Supported and assisted living complexes hit the happy medium between living independently while receiving some form of care and generally you can add on more support if your needs increase. 

In retirement villages, some areas of the village may be called serviced apartments or assisted living units. These differ from other available houses or units in a village because they provide a form of care you wouldn't normally get in a retirement village. They may provide laundry or cleaning services or get assistance with meal preparation or personal care.

Supported and assisted living complexes do not fall under the Aged Care Act of 1997 and are monitored by State and Territory Governments, in some cases also by local councils.

Generally, assisted living services are different from aged care because the individual owns their own area home or unit compared to a room or bed in an aged care facility.

Assisting living can also be a great option for older couples who want to still be able to live together. These units, apartments or houses allow for the person who needs assistance to receive that care, while their partner can feel like they are living in their own home.

Supported living is also considered for those who don't require 24/7 care, but still need day to day assistance, while independence is heavily encouraged.

Similar to other alternative non Government funded aged care services, you will need to fund the purchase or lease of a supported or assisted living home, apartment or unit.

There are usually ongoing weekly service charges, plus additional and optional services you can pay for like laundry services.

Supported or assisted living complexes generally have 24/7 assistance available at a push of a button.

Supported Residential Services/Facilities (SRS/F)

Supported Residential Services (SRSs) or Supported Residential Facilities (SFRs) do not receive any Government funding to run and are not covered under the Aged Care Act of 1997.

Since SFRs/SRSs don't fall under aged care legislation, you do not need to go through a Government aged care assessment and meet their eligibility criteria to access their services or move into a facility.

SRSs/SFRs generally cater towards older people who are frail, or people with disability, young and old, whether the disabilities are physical, intellectual or psychological.

Similarly to Government run aged care facilities, the homes can support a variety of people, including a range of care and services levels, and can accommodate small groups of people up to large groups of people, depending on the size of the facility.

SRS/SRF are funded through the money they receive from the clients they provide care and services to.

Because SRS/SRF are not Government funded, there is usually no means or assets test to be able to enter the facility.

It's important to keep in mind that older people with SRSs/SRFs are not considered aged care residents.

These services are regulated by the State or Territory Government, sometimes even the Local Government manages SRS/SRF in their area.

SRSs/SFRs run under different regulation and legislation compared to Government run aged care. There is no obligation for SRSs/SFRs to follow protocols or be regulated by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, as the Commission only monitors Government funded providers.

You can receive most care and services you would normally be able to receive while in a Government funded aged care facility or service.

The fees are set by the SRS/SRF provider, so you will need to understand all the costs involved before making any decisions.

Can I still get Government funded services?

Just because you decide to receive services or care from a non-Government funded provider, doesn't mean you can't also receive Government funded services.

For instance, if you live in a SRS/SFR, you may still be eligible to receive a Home Care Package from the Government to support you in areas where your SRS/SFR cannot.

Some people that utilise private home care services do so as a "top up" to the Home Care Package or Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services they are already receiving.

However there are instances where you won't be able to access subsidised services on top of private support.

When looking into alternative aged care services that aren't Government funded, make sure to talk with a potential provider around how they work and whether it can make you ineligible to accessing certain Government subsidised services.

Why are you looking into non-Government funded aged care services? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Supported Residential Services and Facilities (SRS/SRF)
Why choose private home care?
Introduction to nursing homes

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