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Home Care Vs Residential Aged Care: Which one should I choose?

Image of older woman receiving aged care services being helped up out of her chair.

If you’re considering care for an aging parent, relative or close one, figuring out whether home care or residential care is the best option can be difficult.

Let’s take an in-depth look at both types of aged care including what they are, their benefits and who can access each so that you can make the right decision.

Home Care

An elderly couple lean on their porch railing holding a cup of tea each. The woman is leaning her head on her husband's shoulder affectionately.

What is Home Care?

Home care, also referred to as Community Care, allows older persons to receive care while living independently at home. Unless it’s necessary to receive services elsewhere, in which case help with transport and attendance will be arranged, health practitioners will provide care for the person in the comfort of their own home.

What services does Home Care provide?

Home care packages provide a tailored and flexible mix of supports that assist with:

  • Social and transport needs that maintain a person’s social life and hobbies
  • Daily tasks and personal care including cooking and showering
  • Nursing and clinical care that provide specialised medical support
  • Health and wellness including nutritional and exercise advice, and coordinating appointments with health practitioners

Home care packages can also include the provision of equipment, aids and home modifications that improve a person’s quality of life and mobility at home.

If a person is not eligible for government funding for Home or Community Care, they can pay for it privately under a fee for service structure.

Who is eligible for home care?

The eligibility criteria for in home aged care will vary depending on the service provider. In most instances, those wishing to access home care in Australia must:

  • Be aged 65 years and over, or 50 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descendants
  • Be assessed and approved by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) to determine the level of care required and eligibility for government-funding
  • Must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident, or a New Zealand citizen who has lived in Australia for a minimum of two years

Should I choose Home Care over Residential Care?

Home care is often the best choice when maintaining independence and living at home is important but a little help with day-to-day activities is required.

Residential Aged Care

Aged care residents are seated in a common area smiling and laughing while taking part in a fitness class.

What is residential aged care?

Residential aged care involves moving permanently into a facility that provides around-the-clock services in a comfortable, home-like environment.  Like Home Care, this service is all about maintaining a person’s quality of life while providing necessary assistance.

What services does residential aged care provide?

Aged are facilities provide a range of services and supports including:

  • Specialised care like dementia support, palliative care, ageing disability support, pastoral care and complex clinical care
  • Hotel-type services that cover day-to-day needs like meals, cleaning and laundry
  • Personal and clinical care including bathing, eating, physiotherapy and more
  • Lifestyle and recreational officers that ensure opportunities for socialising and hobbies are not only maintained but improved

Most aged care facilities will also provide extra conveniences such as on-site hairdressers and dentistry and will focus on fostering community and social interactions through activities.

With Mercy Community Aged Care, services also include pastoral care. 

Should I choose Residential Care over Home Care?

If 24-hour care and medical support is necessary, then residential care may be the best option for you or your loved one. This type of care is also a great option for older persons who are socially isolated or live alone with limited access to family and friends. 

Who is eligible for residential aged care?

The eligibility criteria for becoming a resident at an aged care facility matches that for accessing home care. Having a disability or condition that necessitates ongoing support and care is an additional criterion for being eligible for residential care.

Find out more about your aged care options

If you’re ready to find a home care or residential care provider, visit the My Aged Care website or call on 1800 200 422. Find out more about Mercy Community’s aged care services in Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville below.

Find out more about Mercy Community Aged Care services.

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