Navigating Aged Care

Step 3: Costs

Find out more about aged care costs

For peace of mind, it’s critical that you understand aged care costs - particularly the costs of residential aged care as well as any fees and charges you may incur along the way. It’s also important to understand that the overall amount you pay for both care and accommodation depends on your individual financial situation.

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the body that determines your financial situation. To do this, DHS conducts a Combined Income and Assets Assessment, which is a form that you need to complete and submit to the government.

Since DHS can sometimes take a long time to send you the outcome of your income and assets assessment (14-120 days), we recommend using the government’s Fee Estimator to help you estimate the likely cost of aged care. The Fee Estimator can be found on the Opal website here opalhealthcare.com.au or at the My Aged Care website myagedcare.gov.au. It’s important to remember that the accuracy of the Fee Estimator depends on the accuracy of the information you enter, so it’s important to be as precise as possible.

We also encourage any person considering residential aged care to seek independent financial advice for aged care costs. This will help you access any government assistance to which you are entitled and advise you on the likely costs of your care. If you need help finding an independent advisor, please speak to our team at your local Opal care home or you can contact DHS for a referral.

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Commonly asked questions about Aged Care

  • Once you have received your ACAT assessment, you can begin applying to as many care homes as you wish, but once you accept a place, it’s important that you let the other homes know that you no longer require their services.

  • Visiting a range of homes is often one of the best ways to decide which home suits your needs. To help you assess the suitability of the homes you visit, we have attached a short checklist at the end of this section. This will help you assess each home and ask some important questions to the providers you meet with.

  • The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the body that determines your financial situation. To do this, DHS conducts a Combined Income and Assets Assessment, which is a form that you need to complete and submit to the government.

  • Respite care is short-term care, including day respite, to provide your caregivers a break from caring when they need it. It can be planned or on an emergency basis and can be used for up to 63 days in a financial year. Many care homes offer day respite, which offers caregivers some flexibility to attend to personal needs and obligations as they arise.

  • The Combined Income and Assets Assessment form (SA457) is an extensive questionnaire with over 140 questions about what you and your partner/spouse own and earn. It’s important to understand that you are considered to own half your assets with your partner/spouse regardless of who holds the title to the assets. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to provide details of all assets owned by both of you.

  • Accommodation Charge (the cost of your room) - These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home

    • Basic Daily Care Fee (meals, laundry, cleaning and other day-to-day costs) – These are set by the Australian Government and is the same across every home in Australia.
    • Means-Tested Care Fee (to supplement the cost of your overall care) - These are set by the Australian Government based on an assessment of your personal financial situation.
    • Additional Services Fee or Extra Services Fee - (higher-end services and accommodation) These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home.In some homes, Additional Services or Extra Services are optional and in other homes, residents are required to purchase these services as a condition of entry

    For further information download our 5 step guide.