When the time comes to find the best aged care facility for you or your loved ones its best to do your research, as this can be a difficult process for all the family.
What should you look for? What are the key important details? How can you pick out the bad ones from the good ones?
We all want the best for the people we care about, so here are some top tips to help you start the process. Once you have identified care homes in your local area, we recommend getting in touch with them and booking in a tour of the facilities.
What type of care do you need?
There are many different types of aged facilities in Newcastle and Central Coast, so finding out what type of care you require will help with the elimination process. Types of care include:
- Commonwealth Government Subsidised
- Residential Care
- Transition Care
- Respite Care
- Dementia Care
- Dementia Specific Unit
- Palliative Care
- Partner without ACAT
- Extra Service Beds
How to find aged care homes
Every aged facility is different.
The easiest way to search for aged care homes in your area is to use the Find a provider tool. Simply enter your location to start searching.
- Create a shortlist of homes that meet your requirements.
- Visit your preferred short list to get a feel for them and make sure they meet your needs.
A tour of a facility will give you a chance to compare aged care homes that you have researched. While you shouldn’t pick a facility on first impressions alone, when you inspect a property it’s worth paying attention to the little details.
- Are the flowers fresh?
- How are residents being treated and spoken to?
- Are there preferred visiting hours?
- Can family members stay for lunch or dinner?
- Can we book a common area for celebrations?
- Can family bring pets?
The costs of aged care can be overwhelming, so it is important to understand the process and make the best decision about the type of accommodation and services you need.
Basic Daily Fee – This applies to all residents and covers your day to day living expenses.
Accommodation Payment or Contribution – This a means-tested payment towards the cost of your accommodation. The Government will assess your eligibility to receive financial support for the cost of your aged care accommodation.
Means Tested Care Fee – Some residents may be required to pay additional contributions towards the cost of their care. This is a government assessment based on your income and assets, most people are eligible for some form of government funding to help with these costs.
It is important that you understand the costs involved and seek advice from an independent financial planner or an aged care provider such as ConnectAbility to ensure that you have all the relevant information.
Each home will offer different varieties of accommodation. The options could include;
- Shared Room, various sizes
- Single room with shared en suite
- Single room with private en suite
- Married Couple Suite
Different rooms have different prices, so knowing your budget beforehand will help in making sure you can afford the right room for you. Most of the rooms are ready to move straight into and may offer views and courtyard access.
- What furniture is supplied?
- Is there internet access or can Foxtel be installed in the room?
- Is there a balcony or patio area where I can have plants?
Facilities and Activities
Each facility will have its own calendar of activities, perhaps on your tour you may be able to sit in on one and find out how they are run and how many people attend. Bus outings and social events are enjoyed by residents, so if getting out into the community and enjoying different activities each week is for you, then this should be an area you investigate.
- Are regular outings offered?
- Is there an activity schedule?
- Is there a library?
- Is there a shopping centre or café close by?
- Does a hairdresser visit?
- Is there access to a computer?
- Is there a chapel?
- What are the grounds like?
- What’s the food like?
You may like to see a sample menu, to find out what their standard of catering options are. Find out if they are able adjust to suit your dietary needs and if there more than one option for each meal.
- Are meals cooked fresh on site?
- How often does the menu change?
- Are there snacks available?
There are no regulations in aged care that specify the ratio of residents to nurses, these are usually determined by the level of care required in each facility. Ask each of the homes what their usual practice is for staffing and how they cope with their daily routines. You need to be sure that they are able to look after you or your loved one in the best way possible. Understaffing can have an enormous effect on how residents are treated. Make sure the staff numbers do not include kitchen or laundry staff. Please ask for the staff ratio for direct carers and take the time on your visit to notice the staff levels and the demeanour of the staff towards the residents.
- Is the community gated?
- Does the home have a keypad entry/exit door?
- Is there 24 Hours access to staff
You can search for compliance information for each facility on the Government’s My Aged Care site. ConnectAbility are here to assist and guide you through this process.
Our loved ones are the most important people in our lives, they have worked hard to provide for us and now is the time that we can help them to receive the care that they deserve. ConnectAbility can assist you in locating the right information and services, to ensure you are making the right decision for yourself or a family member.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the friendly ConnectAbility team if you have any questions about our Aged Care Advisory Services.
Call us on 02 49 621 000 to learn more.