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Steps needed to move into an Aged Care facility

Steps needed to move into an Aged Care facility


Before anyone can move into and Aged Care facility, you need to have an ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) assessement (which is the gateway to be able to move into care). This assessment is done by the ACAT, and can be organised through the hospital (if the person moving into care is in hospital) or you can arrange it through your doctor. You can also find the contact numbers through the "My Aged Care" website, simply log into the website,

  • Click "find a service" tab
  • Click on the ACAT tab
  • Enter the postcode applicable

The contact details for the local ACAT will be provided.

See link below to be taken to the website.


STEP 2: Research Aged Care Facilities

In order to find an Aged Care Facility to suit, you will need to do some research on the availability of a bed and the type of facility (i.e. whether they deliver high or low care only or both) or dementia specific, or dementia secure and the Accomodation Payment required (which may be expressed as a RAD or DAP or combination). See legend on this website for explanation of RAD & DAP.

You may also need to enquire whether the Aged Care facility will accept the potential resident as a Limited Means Care recipient (formerly known as Fully or Partially Supported residents, and prior to this as a Concessional or Assisted resident). Whilst technically these terms are no longer used, many facillities and Aged Care providers still use these terms.

N.B. This is a VERY important step to understand before completing the Means Tested Form, as the facility you want might not accept supported resident and once the form is complete, it may not be possible to reverse the outcome.


You  need to consider issues like;

  1. Proximity to family (for visiting)
  2. Proximity to the residents' network of friends or others who are likely to visit
  3. The Accomodation Payment
  4. Whether it is an Extra Service facility or not and if so, how much is the Extra Service Fee
  5. You may wish to know about the facilities staff to resident ratio
  6. You may wish to know about thei activities programme (some residents need more stimulation than others)
  7. You should think about whether a single room is what the resident needs, or whether a shared room may be better (some people get very bored in a room on their own, wheras others might not tolerate sharing a room)

You can research local facilities by;

  • Getting a list of facilities from ACAT or social worker (if in hospital or rehab)
  • Speak to other residents resident famillies, or ask the doctor (if they are aware of the Aged Care facility), speak to friends & relatives who may have had experiences with the facilities you are considering
  • Visiting "My Aged Care" website:

                                                   -Clicking on "Find a Home" tab

                                                   -Click on "Aged Care Homes,"

                                                   -Type in postcode or suburb

  • This  brings up a list of facilities within a 5km radius of the selected suburb, you can then click on that facility to find our the details of that facility (in tabs-description, services & costs), the costs tab will tell you the different room types (e.g.single, shared etc), as well as the Accomodation Payment as a RAD or DAP and other more detailed information if you open up the "down arrow". If you wish to compare facilites, once you have brought up the list of facilities, click up to 3 facilities in the "Compare Selected" box to the right, and you should be able to make some comparisons between the facilities you selected.


STEP 3 Visit Aged Care Facilities

There is nothing better than actually turning up (may be wise to make an appointment first) to a facility and looking for yourself. Our experience tells us that you will just "know" whether the facility is right or wrong for Mum or Dad by the "feeling" that yo get. To some extent it is about the look and feel, but in reality it is about the care.

If you don't live in Australia or Sydney, but your parents are here, or your work commitments don't allow you the time to find a facility, there are organisations who are able to help locate a vacancy, after providing them with a brief of requirements (for a fee), we can point you in the right direction if you need this sort of assistance.


STEP 4 Determine the different Options available to fund Aged Care

In our opinion, this is the most important step, but we are financial people so naturally we think this is important. Why? Because we see so many people making expensive mistakes.

We know there is a great deal of innacurate information that the public obtains (from well intentioned friends and relatives), however much of this is NOT correct, and we spend a great deal of time trying to fix the mistakes that have been made from people listening to wrong information and some cases it is too late, the mistakes cannot be undone, costing the resident much more than it needed to.

BEFORE completing any forms, understand the facts about how Aged Care works and more importantly HOW it is going to work in your specific case. Everybody's situation is different and what worked well for someone else may NOT work well for you.

Then, understand what options are there in your case to fund Aged Care; e.g.

  • Selling the home
  • Selling other assets
  • Renting the home
  • Renting the home to a family member for nominal rent
  • Retaining the home unrented
  • Borrowing against the home (to pay the RAD)
  • Borrowing money (from family to pay the RAD)- beware of the larger Means Tested Fee (MTF) that will apply in this case
  • After selling the home- investing the proceeds, or gifting proceeds, or lending proceeds to family
  • Consider the estate planning implications of selling a property
  • Consider the land tax implications of renting the home
  • Consider the impact on the Pension entitlement (it is better to maximise the pension) and the impact of the Means Tested Fee and most importantly- The cash flow

Then do the financial modelling of the outcome of different options to see which option suits the resident and family best.

This is where we come in. Balance Aged Care Specialists can help you to understand how all this works, what options are available and what the financial outcome of these otions are able to help you make an informed choice.

Doing this step properly can save the residents thousands of dollars per year. 

We typically save people anywhere from $3,000pa to $25,000pa and we are doing this every day of the week.

If you spend tens of thousands of dollars to real a real estate agent selling a home, spending hundreds of dollars to save thousands of dollars is a wise investment.

If you were to buy a home, you would spend money on pest inspections and building reports before you proceed, the same principal applies here. Before spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on an Accomodation Bond, get help to find it the best way to go about funding Aged Care.


STEP 5 Complete the Means Test Assessment (Centrelink Form) SA 457

Most social workers and Aged Care facilities will tell you to fill in the SA457 urgently.

We believe you should wait, until speaking to us, to see HOW to fill it in. Once it has been completed, lodged and assessd, it can't easily be undone, and there are some people who; 

  1. Shouldn't bother doing the form (it will be a waste of time)
  2. May need to complete the form differently to get the outcome desired
  3. Have filled it in, only to find out that the outcome is wrong (due to the Centrelink details already held are out of date).

In our Aged Care Options Appointment we will help you fill in this form correctly and shouw you what the right outcome should be, so that IF the response is different you will know whether it is right or wrong.

If the form you have been given refers to an INCOME TEST, then it is the wrong form for moving into residential Aged Care (unless the resident moved in prior to July 2014), the income test form applies to "Home" care.

Click the link below to be directed to the Centrelink website page to download the Means Test Assessment form.


STEP 6 Advise the selected Aged Care facility HOW you wish to pay the Accommodation Payment


The Aged Care facility will want to know within 28 days of becoming permanent HOW you wish to pay the Accommodation Payment. That does not mean it has to be paid within 28 days, they just want to know whether you intend to pay the RAD or the DAP or a bit of both, so they can prepare the "Residential Care Agreement" (contract).

There is no one best way to pay it, it will differ for most people depending on their financial situation, preferences, priorities and the facility chosen.

Once you have informed the facility HOW you wish to pay the Accomodation Payment, they will prepare the "Residential Care Agreement" accordingly. You will need to sign it and get it back to them within 28 days.

It is not a contract to panic or worry about. It is NOT like a real estate purchase, in once you settle on the purchase of the real estate you are stuck with it. With Residential Aged Care (in essence) you agree to pay the costs and they agree to provide the care. I.E. Once you have paid the bond and moved in, if you wish to leave you can, you are NOT locked in to the contract and you will get the bond back in full (less any fees unpaid) within 14 days and the resident moves in to another facility and starts again.

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