Respite care is an essential element of aged care services delivered in Australia. If you are eligible, you can access up to 63 days of this care service, giving you and your carer a break from traditional care duties. But how do you know if you qualify for respite care?
While it's easy to understand the initial requirements for respite care, it can be harder to work out which services you are eligible to receive, and how. That's where MACG can help.
Chat with our team, or discover the types of respite services we offer — from short-term to long-term, and emergency.
Understanding types of respite care services
First, it's important to make the distinction between the different types of respite care on offer. If you are an older person who requires support and you live in Australia, you may be eligible for:
- Day respite program which runs from 9 am until 4:30 pm.
- Residential respite where you can stay for a short period of time in a residential aged care home. Here, you'll receive all the same services as full-time residents.
Eligibility requirements for community respite care
If you're an older person who requires support in Australia, you may be eligible for respite care. You'll be assessed during either a face-to-face session or online, through a My Aged Care Regional Assessment Service — also known as RAS.
Eligibility requirements for residential respite care
The criteria for residential respite care is the same as those who qualify to reside in an aged care home full-time. You'll need to meet with a member of the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), then you'll receive a letter letting you know the outcome of your assessment.
To apply for an assessment meeting, you can fill out a form online via the My Aged Care website. The form will ask you questions about:
- Your living situation
- Which duties you may need assistance in performing (if applicable)
If you can't answer any of these questions, you can call an assessor or the aged care provider you're looking to receive services from, and they can help you.
Who pays for respite care?
If you receive temporary services at an aged care home, you'll need to pay a daily fee. This varies based on the type and level of care and services you receive. The maximum amount, however, is capped at 85% of the single aged pension.
This sounds expensive — what does respite care cover?
85% of a single aged pension can seem costly at first, until you uncover what is involved when you receive respite care services. Alongside receiving support from a qualified and experienced medical support team, you'll also:
- Enjoy catered meals — so you don't need to worry about weekly grocery bills
- A private or shared room to yourself, with utilities paid for
- Support administering medicine
- Transport to and from community events or appointments
- Laundry services
What happens if I'm not eligible for residential respite care services?
You are never alone. If you find out you are not eligible for either community respite or residential respite services, there are other options for you. Find out more about free community supports in your area.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, which is preventing you from accessing either types of respite care, it's important to remember you will be looked after, no matter what. And if you contact MACG, we'll help you discover what's possible for your situation.
How do I find the right provider for me?
It's important to identify a residential aged care provider which is in an ideal location, and which is recommended by the My Aged Care website. If it's listed on the website, this means it's a registered provider and must adhere to a high set of safety standards when it comes to providing care services.
Book tours of homes and ask yourself questions like:
- Is the care team attentive and supportive?
- Does the home offer a good variety of activity programs to participate in?
- Do the facilities look recently cleaned?
- What's the kitchen like? Does the food smell appetising?
- Do the residents look happy?
If you get a good gut instinct about a home, once you've met the staff and toured it, it's pretty safe to say the home will be a good fit for you.