Intended as a 'one-stop-shop' for older Australians and their families, the participating Services Australia sites will be in both rural and metropolitan areas and have Aged Care Specialist Officers available from 1 November.
The new in-person support will be expanded to 80 Services Australia sites, including ten Aged Care Specialist Officers providing outreach support in regional and remote areas, by December 2022.
This initiative is in line with the Federal Government's aged care reform commitment to improve older Australians' access to information about aged care, health, and social services.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, says the local face-to-face services will make it easier for older Australians and their loved ones to make decisions about aged care as they age.
"Planning for aged care can be overwhelming for many senior Australians and their families. The new My Aged Care face-to-face service allows seniors and their representatives to sit down with a service specialist and talk through their aged care needs," says Minister Hunt.
The chosen Services Australia sites are:
New South Wales: Coffs Harbour, Hurstville, Wallsend, Orange
Northern Territory: Darwin
Queensland: Maroochydore, Nerang, Townsville
South Australia: Norwood
Victoria: Airport West, Shepparton, Glen Waverley
Western Australia: Fremantle
Older people will still be able to use the current systems in place on the My Aged Care website and through the call centre when accessing aged care services. However, the new face-to-face supports will simplify the My Aged Care experience for those who struggle with technology, are confused, or need more information.
This launch of face-to-face supports follows the extension of the Aged Care Navigators trial, extended to December 2022 and led by Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia and 22 other community organisations, which saw a lot of success with in-person supports.
Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, says the new service offering will provide older people greater choice in how they access aged care information.
"This new face-to-face service is designed to work together with the Government’s My Aged Care website and call centre," says Minister Colbeck.
"We’ve seen through the Aged Care Navigators trial how important it is to offer a face-to-face service. And that support has been very well received, with more than 100,000 people getting help to understand, engage with and access the aged care system.
"Alongside the introduction of the My Aged Care face-to-face service, we are extending the Navigators trial with a greater focus on individual and intensive support from staff in local community organisations for isolated clients who could otherwise fall through the cracks when trying to move through the system."
Minister for Government Services, Linda Reynolds CSC, says Services Australia's Aged Care Specialist Officers would be able to provide a lot of different services to older people.
In-depth information about aged care services
Registration and referral for aged care assessments
Connecting senior Australians to local support services, social workers, interpreters, and advocates
Minister Reynolds says, "In addition, all Services Australia service centre staff can provide general information about aged care and assist with connecting people to more specialised assistance, including My Aged Care’s online or phone services.
"Whether you are looking for help at home, or considering a move to residential aged care, our staff can assist and step you through the process.
"We’re also linking Services Australia and My Aged Care call centres so that callers can be transferred easily between the two services."
To make an appointment to speak with an Aged Care Specialist Officer in a participating Services Australia centre, call 1800 227 475. It is recommended to book an appointment.
To learn more or get assistance from Aged Care Navigators, visit the COTA website or call 1300 268 228 to find a local navigator near you.
The Aged Care Guide also provide help to older people trying to navigate the aged care system.
When you are searching for aged care options, the Aged Care Guide can provide financial services or placement consultant assistance. Start your search now on the Aged Care Guide.