Residential care

holding hands

Residential care (aged care homes) is simply care services provided in an accredited residential facility.

Residential care can come in the form of support with light duties and companionship, or assistance after a hospital visit resulting from an accident or injury. Or provide higher levels of care, such as 24-hour nursing care and palliative care.

All facilities, both private and public, and their operators must be approved by the Australian Government and regularly audited.

Before moving a loved one into residential care, it’s important to do your research. This will help ensure the facility you choose matches their needs. Here are some aspects you may want to consider. 

Hints and tips

Before its time to move into residential care have a talk to your loved one and make a plan together to outline–what area they want to live, how it will be financed and what to do with the family home. This can make the transition a lot easier.
Jamie, 47

Get some financial advice beforehand to help with loved ones' financial assets, powers of attorney and estate planning matters.
Ian, 53

  • What are their interests or specific needs?
  • Do they have any cultural, religious or linguistic preferences? 
  • Would you like a privately run facility or one run by a community or a charitable organisation?
  • What amenities do they offer and are pets allowed?
  • What are the costs involved?

How to access residential care

Residential care can be very broad and confusing. So the government created the My Aged Care website to provide a great resource when considering aged care.

There are many different options and services available and depending on your location there’s generally a resource to meet your needs. Here’s a directory of aged care facilities in Australia.

How is residential care assessed?

The assessment is completed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria) and conducted in person. It’s useful to have a relative or friend with you to help. The assessor will seek:

  • permission to conduct the assessment and request a signature on an application form (should you wish to apply for approval to receive certain aged care services)
  • information about day-to-day living activities and what help is needed
  • details of overall health and how much support is needed (including whether you can stay at home or are better supported in an aged care home).

The assessor will then provide information about the services available, and what the next steps are, including what correspondence will be sent.

Cost of residential care

The costs of residential care are quite complex and include government subsidies. Basically, they include a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) fee linked to the Aged Pension, and/or a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD). Other fees may also apply such as a basic daily fee and means tested care fee.

Visit the My Aged Care website for more information on pricing or use the Residential Care Fee Estimator to calculate the costs.

A full list of current rates is available on the Department of Human Services website.

Get advice

You can contact UniSuper Advice about your aged care needs by calling us on 1800 UADVICE (1800 823 842) or by submitting an online enquiry