Navigating Aged Care

Choosing the right home can be hard

We understand the decision to move into residential aged care is a significant one and it is important to choose the accommodation that meets your needs and your budget. Whilst all aged care homes in Australia are strictly regulated by the government to ensure a high standard of care across the sector, you will find that accommodation differs. We are here to support throughout the entire process by helping to understand everything you need to know about aged care.

View our video or read about our five key steps to ensure that you have the correct information and documentation for application into residential aged care.


Navigating aged Care video
Assess eligibility

Step 1: Assess

The first step you need to take is to find out if you’re eligible for government support. To do this, you’ll need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team or ACAT

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Find aged care

Step 2: Find

If your ACAT has confirmed your eligibility to access residential aged care, the next step is finding a care home that meets your needs.

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Understand Costs

Step 3: Costs

For peace of mind, it’s critical that you understand the costs of residential aged care as well as any fees and charges you may incur along the way.

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Application for aged care

Step 4: Apply

Ensure you have all the relevant paperwork to apply to an Opal care home

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Resident Agreement

Step 5: Move

Moving into aged care can be a stressful time so we will always do our best to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

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Start exploring Opal homes today

Find a home

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 vary 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.