Affording Aged Care: A Guide

Aged care can be expensive. Let’s navigate the subject together.
Affording Aged Care: A Guide

Moving into a care home is a major life decision, and it also has hefty financial implications for individuals, and their families. This is why it’s important to be aware of aged care and accomodation fee options early on. Whether you’re conducting some research for an ageing parent right now, or you’re wondering how to afford aged care for yourself in the future, we’ve gathered some helpful information below for when the time comes.

Government Help

The government is pretty eager to help people stay in their own homes for as long as possible. This is because people often feel most comfortable at home (provided they have the right care and support to go about their daily activities). It can be comforting to know that in-home care packages are available, which include everything from support with grocery shopping and transport, to even companionship and personal care. In fact, it’s possible that you or your parents might not ever need residential care, but having a backup or a “just in case” plan can really bring peace of mind. Simply knowing that you or your family member will be taken care of (in the event that they can no longer fully take care of themselves) really takes a lot of the pressure off.

Think Ahead – Independent Living & Beyond

Many aged care facilities offer accommodation options that range from a low to a high level of care. So, if you or your parents are hoping to maintain independence for as long as possible, it might be worth looking into an independent living apartment that’s run by a care facility. This way, if care needs change, you could have the option of moving into another wing or complex nearby – one that would still look and feel familiar. See, if change is a challenge for most people at the best of times, then it’s bound to be difficult for older people or people living with dementia – for whom a change in location would be more of a hassle than a saving grace. Your best bet is to contact your aged care home of choice and ask them what they would recommend to set you or your parents up for the future. 

Sell Your Family Home

If you’re moving into a residential aged care home, you’ll likely need to pay a lump sum or a down payment known as a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) to secure a spot. This payment is refunded if you or your parents move to a different care home, or it’s sent to the estate if they pass away. Many people sell the family home to cover this cost, but you don’t need to do that straight away – there’s a six month grace period to pay the RAD once someone has entered residential care. The RAD can also be paid with a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP) rather than a lump sum. But, if selling the family home isn’t an option for you or your parents, then renting it out could be a good compromise.


Many older Australians consider downsizing once their adult children leave the nest, so they have money available if or when they need residential care. Some people also opt to use a portion of this money to boost their superannuation. With this in mind, it’s recommended that people seek financial advice before entering an aged care home to help choose the right payment option.

Parents not keen on residential care? Here’s an idea.

Take them to visit a couple of aged care facilities (you could even visit these homes alone beforehand to make sure it exceeds your expectations, first). By touring the aged care home, you or your parents will be able to see the high aged care standards and the pleasant decor and facilities first-hand. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet the coordinators and carers, and just get a feel of the place. The life transition from being comfortable at home to needing residential care can happen relatively quickly – perhaps due to an illness or a serious fall. By then, options could be limited and there mightn’t be much time to look around for an aged care home that ticks all your boxes and fits within your budget. So it’s best to plan early. Start by finding a place that’s close in proximity to family and friends so regular visits can be arranged. Visit as many care homes as you’d like until you find one that feels good to you.

Touring Aged Care Homes

There are a vast number of aged care homes across Australia. Some are part of national or state-wide chains whilst others are independent businesses. Here’s a look into several aged care homes in Australia, and what tour options they provide:

Bupa Aged Care

Once you’ve identified the Bupa homes in your area, Bupa recommends getting in touch with them to book a tour of the aged care homes you’re interested in. This way, you and/or your parents can get to know the team, learn what kind of care and activities are available, and have all your questions answered by helpful staff. Bupa also encourages that you or your parents share your hobbies, interests and daily routines. Ultimately, the staff want to help residents feel at home, so it’s worth forging these relationships now.

Opal Aged Care

Opal Aged Care has a Virtual Enquiry Pack – it’s a 44-page PDF that you can download here. This resource is packed with information about the enquiry process. It’s definitely worth a read. You can also book a tour here.


You can book a visit to any Mecwacare location here. Mecwacare have also embraced virtual tours, so you or your parents can view the premises without having to leave the house. Simply type ‘Mecwacare virtual tours’ into your search engine and you’ll find plenty of links that will direct you to different locations.

Wrap Up

Affording aged care is definitely not a walk in the park for many people, but a little bit of planning goes a long way. It’s a good idea to involve another family member in the process, like a partner or an adult child, so you aren’t shouldering the task alone. Remember that the government and aged care homes are here to help, so if you run into any trouble, it’s always worth asking for some assistance.

If you need help with probate or letters of administration in order to get a RAD Bond back, the team at Willed, contact the in house legal team at Willed for a free, fixed-fee quote on 1300 945 533 or [email protected].

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice. 

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