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Aged care services

7-minute read

Key facts

  • Aged care helps older Australians with everyday living and other needs.
  • There are many different types of aged care services available, and many are government-funded for eligible people.
  • Government-funded aged care services include in-home care (care in your home), residential care in aged care (nursing) homes and short-term care such as respite care.
  • Government-funded aged care services must meet quality standards and government inspections.

As we get older, our needs change

The Australian aged care system provides various options to cater to different care needs. Many of these options are funded by the government.

An assessment is required to access government-funded services for older Australians. These assessments are completed by the aged care assessment team / service (ACAT or ACAS in Victoria). These determine a person's eligibility for services, as well as assess the care and support they need.

Carers may also be eligible for respite services.

What is aged care?

Aged care is the support provided to Australians aged 65 years and over (and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over) who can no longer live without support.

Aged care support can include everyday living and other needs. It can be provided in people's homes, the community, and in residential aged care facilities (nursing homes).

These are the organisations that monitor aged care services, and make sure aged care is safe and easy to access:

What types of care are provided?

The Australian government subsidises aged care services for older people under the Aged Care Act.

Aged care services include:

Services can include:

  • walking frames and mobility equipment
  • transport and social outings
  • personal care
  • health care including nursing or medical care
  • allied health services
  • counselling

Aged care services can also help with your housing and living arrangements, and can include:

  • help with everyday living including housework, shopping or cooking
  • house and garden maintenance and home modifications
  • accommodation, if you no longer want to or are able to live in your own home

Many different providers offer care and support through funding agreements.

How can I apply for government-funded care?

Call the myagedcare contact centre on 1800 200 422, visit the website or follow the links below, to learn about aged care services. Myagedcare can provide you with information on how to apply for an assessment, and if you are eligible, they can help organise services.

If you’re not eligible for government-funded care, you can access privately-funded services, but you will need to pay the full costs yourself.

Read more about aged care homes costs and fees, or use the fee estimator on the myagedcare website.

What is a carer?

Carers are individuals who provide ongoing care and support to someone they know without getting paid. They may care for a person with:

  • a disability
  • a mental illness
  • dementia
  • drug or alcohol dependency
  • chronic conditions
  • a terminal illness
  • frailty

Is there government support for carers?

The government funds different types of respite to help families and carers. Many people in caring roles find that regular breaks help them recharge when they’re exhausted and avoid ‘burn out’. It also gives the person they are caring for an opportunity to socialise and meet other people.

For practical information and useful resources for carers, contact Carer Gateway on 1800 052 222.

You can also learn more about support and services for carers in your state or territory through Carers Australia.

Resources and support

  • myagedcare Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) is your starting point for accessing aged care services.
  • Services Australia offers support and information about government payments and services available to older Australians.
  • The Department of Health and Aged Care services provides advice on different types of aged care.
  • COTA VIC is a leading not-for-profit organisation representing the interests and rights of people aged 50+ in Victoria.
  • Dementia Australia offers information, support, education and counselling. You can also contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.
  • The Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre supports carers in their caring role and can be contacted on 1800 052 222.
  • The Australian Government Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is the regulator of aged care services. You can find information on how to become a carer, how to make a complaint about a service or report a serious incident.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2023

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