Let’s face it, we all want to maintain our independence as we enter our Golden Years. Whether we’re hoping to continue maintaining our garden, socialising with friends in the comfort of our own home (or theirs), or simply engaging in society in ways we always have, there are a range of reasons why older Australians value their independence and might want to maintain it as they grow old(er).
What is a Home Care Package?
Home Care Packages (also referred to as ‘HCPs’) are a government-funded program developed to support older Australians. They allow seniors to live at home independently, while providing them with access to a range of support services they’ll likely require on a day-to-day basis.
Some of these services include:
- Basic home maintenance and cleaning
- Gardening services
- Showering, dressing and personal hygiene
- Shopping (groceries and other)
- Laundry services
- Transport to and from appointments and social activities
But the list is almost endless – older Australians are able to receive almost any help they need to live well as they age, within the comfort of their own homes. This means they can delay moving into an aged care facility (if they choose to do so).
How do Home Care Packages work?
Approved providers assign care managers to each individual’s HCP. The role of the care manager is to ensure every Home Care Package is tailored to the individual and their unique needs as they age. They’re also able to make adjustments to the Package over time as the individual’s needs evolve, and have an obligation to make sure all care and services provided comply with national legislation.
So yes, this whole ‘Home Care Package’ thing is a pretty incredible way to support our ageing population in alignment with their own personal wishes.
What is a fully-managed Home Care Package plan?
This is exactly what it sounds like! In a fully-managed plan, the care manager plays a much greater role in coordinating care for the individual. They’re also able to work closely with the individual’s family to organise services based on the individual’s needs – often this option is chosen for those who might not have the capacity to care for themselves or make sound decisions in relation to their own care plan.
What is a self-managed Home Care Package plan?
A self-managed plan allows the individual to have greater control over their own care and services. They might hand-select their services, providers and care manager, and will determine their own budget without too much input from the care manager or their family. If you have the ability to self-manage (and want to save a little money), this is often a really great way to maintain independence as you age.
One thing worth noting, though, is that not all HCP providers offer self-managed packages. So, it’s worth researching your ideal providers to ensure the one you choose will allow you to self-manage.
What are some advantages & disadvantages of a self-managed Home Care Package?
Like most things, there are pros and cons of each option. Here, we’ve helped outline a few of them.
Advantages of a self-managed Home Care Package
- You can save money by self-managing, as providers generally charge high management fees.
- You’ll have full control over your services, budget and spending.
- If your needs change, making changes to your plan is in your hands.
Disadvantages of a self-managed Home Care Package
- Providers are still legally-required to host all package funds and ensure that your spending is compliant with your individual package. This means you’ll still need to ensure every service and provider you select is approved by your care manager (they’ll also have to track your spending).
- You’ll end up spending a lot more time on administrative tasks, whereas with a fully-managed plan, your care manager will do all the admin for you.
- If your health or needs dramatically change in a short period of time, you’ll be responsible for managing the changes to your plan – this can be a little risky, as you never know how quickly your health may deteriorate (and you can’t always predict such changes).
In summary, we’re pretty lucky to have the option of Home Care Packages here in Australia. And we’re even luckier to be given the opportunity to self-manage our own plan, providing us with even more independence as we age. There are pros and cons to both – and most HCP providers have different terms and inclusions – so it’s always worth asking questions and doing your research before selecting your Home Care Package provider.
If you are looking into Home Care Packages, it's probably the right time to also consider your estate plan. Part of a comprehensive estate plan is writing a legal Will, which you can do online today in just 15 minutes. Start today at willed.com.au.