This article was written by Rachel Lane from Aged Care Gurus.
As the end of the year fast approaches, many aged care homes are offering “free” aged care. Now, you might be thinking: what’s the catch? Well, in some cases you’ll need to pay for some upfront to get some free, but in other cases there is nothing to pay.
This is all thanks to deals on short-term care arrangements known as “respite care”, which provides an opportunity for carers to have a break as we head into the festive season.
Respite care is available to provide a regular carer with a much-needed break.
Respite is also a great way to “try before you buy”. A few weeks in an aged care home will give you a good sense of what it is like to live there, more than you will ever get from a guided tour or open day visit. At the end of your stay, you should have a clear idea of the activities, what the other residents are like, whether you enjoy the food and — most importantly — the quality of the care.
In fact, you may like it so much you don’t want to leave. Aged care providers know that many people who come for a respite stay will, at some point, choose to move in. So, with that in mind, there is a growing list of deals, discounts and, in some cases, free stays on offer.
Respite fees are simple as there are no accommodation payments or means‐tested fees, you just pay the basic daily fee ($57 per day) plus any extra or additional services like hairdressing, wine/beer, hair and beauty treatments and TV subscription services. If you can’t afford the basic daily fee, you can apply for financial support.
Australian Unity and Regis have a deal across many of their homes where if you book for four weeks you pay for two. Many of these homes provide additional services ranging from $10 to $50 per day. At Australian Unity the additional service fee is waived during the free period, while at Regis you pay the additional service fee for your whole stay.
Mercy Health and Benetas are offering two weeks of free respite when you book a stay of three weeks or more, so pay for one week and get two free. When it comes to free aged care, Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) is offering two weeks of free stays and the Salvation Army has free stays of up to four weeks. Bupa, which has more than 50 aged care homes across the country, is offering respite stays of two weeks free, and if you decide to move in at the end of your stay, they will waive the basic daily fee for another two weeks.
To be eligible for a respite stay you will need to have your care needs assessed and be approved for respite care by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). Most of the deals require you to book between now and the end of the year and the offers are not necessarily available at every home and are obviously subject to availability. These offers are also often one time only, so you can’t repeat buy.
Christmas can be an expensive time of year, emotionally and financially, so booking in a respite stay could save you money and stress.
If you have missed the boat this year, consider respite in 2023.
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