Where you can get help

Planning your current or future care needs, and making the right decisions, takes a lot of knowledge and skills. Help may be on hand to help you be better informed, to make better decisions. Or help may be needed to provide the expertise and experience that you don’t have.

This help may come from free support services, or paid support services. Or it may come from trusted friends or family members who you have asked to take on responsibilities on your behalf.

Ideas for who may offer help

Advocacy services

If you need help to raise a complaint or speak out for yourself, an advocacy service can help with information on your rights, or advice on how to raise your concerns, or to speak on your behalf. The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is funded by the Government to provide free advocacy services if you are using government-funded aged care services. Call 1800 700600.

Understanding dementia

Living with dementia affects the lives of many Australians. Dementia Australia provides information, education and support services to help both people living with dementia and their families. The aim is to support people impacted by dementia, and to enable them to live as well as possible.

Dementia Australia provide a range of useful resources and supports. Start with the free information kit at link below. Phone 1800 100500.

Financial advice

Financial advice can help you to pull together all the financial aspects to ensure you can find an affordable solution, access the government subsidies and concessions that you might be entitled to and avoid potentially costly mistakes. This can save you time and reduce the stress.

Advice goes beyond information, to create specific recommendations based on your needs and financial situation. It should also anticipate potential future changes that you should be aware of when making decisions today. Check that your financial adviser/planner is experienced and accredited in aged care advice.

You should expect to pay for this advice, so discuss with the financial adviser/planner what services they offer and the cost of the advice. Also ensure that your adviser is registered on ASIC’s Financial Adviser Register. Financial advisers are regulated, need to meet educational standards and operate under professional codes of conduct. They will also be members of a free dispute resolution service and have Professional Indemnity insurance in case something goes wrong.

Free information

Centrelink employ Financial Information Service (FIS) officers to provide information that can help you understand implications for your finances. FIS officers are not licensed to give advice or make recommendations on products. But they can help to ensure you are better informed if you are then seeking advice from a financial adviser/planner or are making your own decisions.

Call Centrelink on 13 23 00 and say “Financial Information Service” when asked why you are calling.

Choosing a care provider

Doing your research to choose the right care provider for you (whether home care or residential care) is an important but time-consuming step, especially if you are not sure what to look for or what questions to ask.

You can start your search using the Find a Provider service on the My Aged Care website (click link below). You can also outsource your research and shortlist selection to a placement service or aged care consultant. ‚ÄčType “aged care placement” into your internet browser to find someone to help.

If you are looking for residential care, Step 3 of the Residential Care Pathway provides more information on how to approach this search. Click here.

The aged care placement services can help you to search for appropriate providers and create a shortlist to choose from. They may also help you to make the final choice and may also help with negotiations with the aged care provider to secure a place. They may be able to give you an understanding of fees, but unless they are also a licensed financial adviser they cannot give advice on how to structure your finances.