Getting the right home help for ageing parents

If your parents are elderly and frail, they may be able to remain at home with adequate support. What do we mean by support?

What kind of help can I get?

Support could include one or more of the following:

  • Personal care – assistance to shower, dress and attend to cleaning teeth, doing one’s hair, applying makeup etc. to prepare for the day ahead and/or to assist at night.
  • Medication Management – someone attending at the time medications are due to ensure the ageing individual takes the right medications, the right dose at the right time.  Other mechanisms can be put in place to assist with medication management such as dosette boxes, webster packs and devices with timers which notify the individual that it is time to take the medication and allowing access to only those medications that are due.
  • Meals – whether it be assistance with meal preparation, shopping or arranging delivery of home-cooked meals.
  • Domestic help – cleaning of the home, garden maintenance and assistance with domestic tasks such as shopping or changing light bulbs.
  • Personal alarms and monitoring –  a system that checks ageing individuals are safe each day and/or an emergency button to call for help.  There are numerous options available.
  • Social activity – social visits or assistance getting to or from functions or connecting into networks with like individuals. Social isolation is one of the biggest issues with the elderly so addressing this is vital. More information on how to combat social isolation can be found here. 
  • Mobility Aids – it is worth having a physiotherapy assessment to ensure ageing individuals are safe when walking to prevent falls as the result of a fall is the most common trigger for entering an aged care facility.   Some subsidies are also available for fit-outs (grab bars, railings etc.) where considered necessary.

How do you access these home help supports?

There are currently 3 options to access home help:

  1. If you are a DVA gold or white card holder, DVA provides a range of home care services at little or no cost to those who need assistance. Call DVA on 133 254 to start the process.
  2. If you are 65 or over and need help, the Federal Government provides subsidised home care packages. Just be wary that if you do not receive a full age pension, these packages can be more expensive than paying a private provider. For more information and to get the process started call MyAgedCare on 1800 200 422 or go to
  3. Engaging a private service and self-funding the costs.

You can combine the options and there are advantages and disadvantages to each option.  If you need more information contact us on 1800 500 780.

When the time comes to look for an aged care facility, please read this blog post POST YET TO BE DONE INCLUDE LINK.

Until next time
Margaret Harrison

A look at dying well


It is the last thing that you will ever do, so why not do it well?


How we can die better

The Grattan Institute, a Melbourne think tank, issued a report on dying well. The report shows that, although 70% of people want to die at home, only 14% do. Well worth a read but as you may not have time, we have picked out the best parts for you.

The key recommendations of the report are:

1. Implement a national public education campaign on the limits of health care and end-of-life decision making.
2. Ensure end-of-life discussions and plans occur by introducing incentives and services at relevant touchpoints (e.g. 75+ health reviews and entry into care).
3. Better coordination and implementation of end of life plans to ensure end-of-life plans are followed (e.g. legalise them).
4. Provide home-based support for carers to support people to die at home rather than in a hospital or a residential facility. This is done with an additional 39,000 palliative care services which would be overall cost-neutral.


What does a good death look like?

Recently, there have been some findings on what a good death looks like. Here is what some experts say, taken in turn from Smith, R. (2000) ‘A good death’, British Medical Journal, 320 (15 January).

  • To know when death is coming, and to understand what can be expected
  • To be able to retain control of what happens
  • To be afforded dignity and privacy
  • To have control over pain relief and other symptom control
  • To have choice and control over where death occurs (at home or elsewhere)
  • To have access to information and expertise of whatever kind is necessary
  • To have access to any spiritual or emotional support required
  • To have access to hospice care in any location including home, not only in the hospital
  • To have control over who is present and who shares the end
  • To be able to issue advance directives that ensure wishes are respected
  • To have time to say goodbye and control over other aspects of timing
  • To be able to leave when it is time to go, and not to have life prolonged pointlessly

This fairly summarises what our clients tell us. Let’s hope this report gains some traction.

If you wish to read the full report, you can find it here.

If you or someone you know wishes to do an advanced care plan, call us on 1800 500 780.

Until next time

Margaret Harrison

Organising a break for carers


Carers need a break

Carers provide countless hours of care and support for our ageing population.  Sometimes they need a break.  This can be organised through respite care.


Respite options

There are different types of respite which are outlined below:
1. In Home Respite, this is when a carer comes into your home so the carer can get a break for a few hours or the carer can take the person requiring respite out for a while. This type of care can be delivered during the day or overnight.
2. Centre Day Based Respite. This respite takes place at a day centre or club. It offers activities and outings and usually runs between 10 am – 3 pm. Some of these centres offer a pickup and drop off service as well.
3. Residential Respite Care. This is for individuals who need help every day and therefore enter into an aged care residential facility or a supported residential service for a short stay. This can be planned for a rest break or the carer may be going on a holiday.

Residential Respite Care can be paid for privately (cost varies from facility to facility) or through subsidised services.  It can cost as little as about $50 per day. In order to have access to a subsidised bed care recipient must have an ACAS assessment approving respite. ACAS is a free service and an assessment can be organised by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Residential Respite Care that is accessed through an ACAS entitles individuals to up to 63 days respite per financial year, most aged care residential facilities require respite to be taken in 2-week blocks.

Not all aged care facilities have respite beds available to be booked in advance so plan ahead and make a booking.


Carer Gateway

Carer Gateway is a Commonwealth Government funded service which provides help and assistance for carers.  You can talk to them about what services are available in your area and they can assist with finding respite care in an emergency.  You can contact Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 or more information is available here.

If you need help organising a break, call us on 1800 500 780 and we can help.


Until next time
Margaret Harrison