How Does Aged Care Work in Australia?

As we get older, daily activities can become a bit tricky. Thankfully, Australians have access to a range of aged care services to help them live a healthy, happy, and independent life as they age.

But how does aged care work in Australia? Here’s a brief look at the ins-and-outs of the Australian aged care system, to make receiving valuable support that little bit easier.

Types of Aged Care

There are multiple types of aged care available in Australia. Here are a few of the most common:

Short-Term Aged Care

Short-term aged care is a service that provides temporary support for older adults. It could be delivered in your home, after a hospital stay, or in a facility while your primary caregiver takes a well-deserved break. Generally, short-term care will consist of the services you already receive regularly, unless you need medical care due to injury or recent surgery.

Residential Aged Care

Residential aged care is usually reserved for older adults with more complex care needs. It involves living full-time at a care facility, with support available 24/7. Residential care can be disruptive to hobbies and routines, so it is often considered a last choice—only delivered when other types of care aren’t appropriate.

In Home Aged Care

Home care is the most popular choice for aged care in Australia. With home care, a qualified care and support worker visits your home to provide any necessary assistance. You can choose from a range of flexible services that assist with areas of concern, but also complement your goals and lifestyle. These services usually include gardening/lawn mowing, domestic care, personal care, transport, social support, and more.

Government-Subsidised Care

‘I need aged care services, but I’m worried I may not be able to afford them.’ Fortunately, a range of aged care services can be subsidised by the Australian Government, taking the financial pressure off consumers, and ensuring older adults have access to the care they need. Here are a few types of government-subsided aged care available for older Australians:

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)

The CHSP is considered entry-level support, for older adults who have basic care needs. Through the CHSP, you can organise 1-2 necessary services to help you live a full and independent life at home. These services may include domestic care (cleaning), transport, social support, and more.

Home Care Package (HCP)

If you have more complex care needs, but you’d still like to remain at home as you age, an HCP may be the best choice for you. The HCP program consists of four levels, which correspond with care need complexity. For example, if your HCP is level one, you likely have fairly low care needs. Whereas if your HCP is level four, you likely have complex care needs. Your HCP level is determined by an assessment of your support system, living arrangements, and abilities, carried out by My Aged Care.

Recipients of an HCP have access to a range of coordinated support services and equipment to keep them happy and healthy. These services could include anything from gardening to domestic care, to personal care, transport, and companionship. They could also include home aides, and equipment such as walking frames.


To be eligible for subsidised care, you must be an Australian citizen aged 65 or over. To find out more about eligibility, visit the My Aged Care website.

It’s worth noting that most forms of government-subsidised aged care require a financial contribution. For example, HCP recipients must pay a set daily fee, and a contribution fee for their services. The amount you need to contribute on top of the daily fee will depend on the result of an income assessment. However, an annual and lifetime fee cap applies.

How to Access Aged Care in Australia

Are you ready to organise a bit of extra help? If you’d like to receive aged care services privately, or you’re not eligible for government-subsided care, contact an aged care service provider in your area directly. Discuss your needs with your chosen provider and you can begin your services promptly.

However, if you think you may be eligible for government-subsidised care, contact My Aged Care to organise an assessment. An assessor will visit you in your home to discuss your needs, support systems, strengths, and weaknesses. If they believe you should receive government-subsided care, they will work with you to develop a care plan, and supply your information to My Aged Care for approval. Once you’re approved for subsidised care, you can choose an appropriate provider and begin organising your services!

Need help navigating the aged care system in Australia? Give our friendly team a call!

Here at Simply Helping, we offer a range of flexible in home aged care services for older Australians from all walks of life. Click here to learn more and contact us today!

Simply Helping