Joel Callen

News

Wed, 8 Jul, 2015

Big changes coming to aged care funding

Big changes coming to aged care funding

A new program aims to give older Australians more say over how money to help them live in homes is spent.

The Consumer Directed Care program starts this month and will affect around 200,000 Australians. In terms of spending decisions, it hands the power back to families instead of home care providers. This was following concerns by the government that some providers were not doing the right thing.

Kylie Lambert, the CEO of home care specialist Daughterly Care, says the changes are “a revolution that has turned the aged care industry upside down”.

“For the first time you will receive a monthly statement because the government wants transparency. Some people had been shocked to find out the government had been paying $52,000 a year for their parent's care,” she told Perth Now.

“Look at what the cost is, because I've seen that some approved providers are keeping 49 per cent of government funding. It's not the approved providers' money — it's your money.”

But there will be an income test, meaning that older Australians who earn more will have to pay more. For those earning more than $25,264.20 a year, the charges will be up to a maximum of $5000 a year for part-pensioners and $10,000 a year for self-funded retirees, up to a lifetime limit of $60,000.

The average age of the recipients is 82, though the packages are for people aged 65 and over. Depending on the needs assessment there are different levels of payment.

“Elderly people are very stoic and they don't ask for help under way after they need it,” says Ms Lambert.

She says many people gave away their home care packages due to frustration with the lack of control. “They should never give up one of these packages — they are very difficult to get and there's often a two-year wait.”

The pilot program saw Amana Living take part as one of several providers.

“We think it's pretty good — from a consumer's perspective it does give people a greater level of choice and control,” says Amana's CEO, Ray Glickman.

It’s up to the individual to choose what suits them best. They might want equipment to help them live more comfortably at home; they might choose to have support with their meals; or even get someone in to clean the house.

“It gives them greater tactical options to focus on helping older people stay at home. You can let it build up as long as you stay with the same provider,” says Mr Glickman.

“People should be cautious and careful and research the reputation and track record of different providers,” Mr Glickman says.

As part of the pilot program, Bev and David Lee used the money to buy a hoist and a toilet raiser.

David has multiple sclerosis and Bev has cared for him for 20 years.

“The CDC package has made a massive difference,” says Bev.

She previously raised money to help pay for David’s wheelchair by holding sausage sizzles.

“I have to look after Dave the best way I possibly can, so you can imagine my stress levels trying to supply what he needed.”

Related links: 

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The homelessness plight of older Australians

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