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Aged Care

Aged Care


Whether considering options for yourself or deciding how best to help someone close to you, aged care can be a complex area requiring careful thought.

More Australians are using aged care services each year. Whilst it may seem daunting at first, the aged care system has improved significantly over the last few years, with a strong focus on ensuring help and resources are available to help you every step of the way. You can access aged care services through a non-government subsidised provider of aged care anytime. However, if you wish to access government subsidised aged care, the first step involves an ACAT assessment. This assessment will help identify the type of services you may be eligible for.

You can pay for these services yourself, plus there is also access to Government assisted care via several Government initiatives. Either way whether it is subsidised by the Government or not, for most people they want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. Even if it costs money to get this help & assistance, isn’t it worth it to remain in your home, & it is probably cheaper than residential aged care until that time comes that you have no alternative but to get residential aged care.

Your assessment will determine your eligibility to access services at home or in a residential aged care facility. If you are assessed as eligible to access services, you will receive an approval letter and support plan that sets out the services you are approved to access.

Currently, there are three main types of Government assisted aged care options in Australia:

Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP)

You may have been approved for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). It is an entry level program for older people who need basic assistance with daily tasks to live independently at home. You are expected to contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to. Also, you will need to discuss and agree to any fees with relevant service providers before you receive aged care.

The types of services you can receive under a CHSP include:

  • Domestic assistance with household jobs like cleaning and laundry.
  • Social support with activities in a community-based group setting or accompanied activities.
  • Meals and food services - shopping for groceries, the preparation of meals or delivering meals to your home.
  • Allied health support services – physiotherapy, podiatry, speech pathology, occupational therapy, advice from a dietician or other allied health and therapy services.

Visit the Government’s My Aged Care website ( or phone 1800 200 422 to find CHSP service providers in your area. You can access a list of providers contact details to find out whether a particular provider can suit your needs, how much they cost, and how they provide their services.

Home care packages

You may have been approved for a home care package. There are four levels of home care package available, from a package providing basic care needs (level 1) to a package providing high level care needs (level 4). Whilst there will be a subsidy that the government will pay towards your home care package (increasing with each package level), you will be expected to contribute to the cost of your care if you can afford to.

The types of services you can receive under a home care package include:

  • Personal services - assistance with personal activities such as bathing, showering, toileting, dressing and undressing, mobility and communication.
  • Nutrition, hydration, meal preparation and diet.
  • Continence management: assistance in using continence aids and appliances.
  • Mobility and dexterity.
  • Nursing, allied health and other clinical services - speech therapy, podiatry, occupational or physiotherapy services, hearing and vision services.
  • Transport and personal assistance - assistance with shopping, visiting health practitioners and attending social activities.
  • Management of skin integrity - assistance with bandages, dressings and skin emollients.

Finding a home care service provider Visit the Government’s My Aged Care website ( or phone 1800 200 422 to find home care service providers in your area, based on level of home care package you have been approved for. You can access a list of providers contact details to find out whether a particular provider can suit your needs, how much they cost, and how they provide their services.

Residential aged care

You may have been approved for services in an aged care home. If you decide this is right for you, it will be helpful to visit these homes so you can see for yourself whether it will provide you with the support you want. As you visit each aged care home, you may want to make a note of what you liked, didn’t like, and whether you would be happy to live there. This will help you decide which home would be most suitable. There may be different fees associated with each home.

Aged care homes can help you with:

  • Day-to-day tasks (such as cleaning, cooking, laundry).
  • Nutrition, hydration, meal preparation and diet.
  • Personal care (such as dressing, grooming, going to the toilet).
  • 24-hour care under the supervision of a registered nurse.
  • Accessing a variety of additional services such as physiotherapy (exercises, mobility, strength and balance) or podiatry (foot care).

Visit the Government’s My Aged Care website ( or phone 1800 200 422 to help you find aged care homes in your area. You can access the contact details of homes plus find a description of their services, costs, and any areas of care speciality they can help with.


The costs for residential aged care are separated into accommodation payments and ongoing care fees.

Accommodation cost:.

Each residential aged care home has different costs for living there. These can vary significantly dependent on location and status of the home. Your loved one may be asked to contribute to the accommodation costs.

They can pay the accommodation costs as a refundable lump sum, referred to as a refundable accommodation deposit (RAD), or in periodic payments, referred to as a daily accommodation payment (DAP). Or a combination of both.

If your loved one pays a RAD, this will be refunded to their estate when they vacate the care home

The accommodation costs are negotiated between your loved one and the aged care home but cannot exceed the amount published by the facility on the Government website

The basic daily fee

Cost: $50.66 per day (as at 1 January 2019), Amount paid by a resident in a year: $18,491.

The basic daily fee is used to cover the day-to-day expenses such as meals, laundry and cleaning etc. Everybody entering residential aged care is expected to pay this fee.

Usually the aged care provider will ask this fee to be paid fortnightly or monthly, and to be paid up to one month in advance.

The basic daily fee is an amount equivalent to 85% of the maximum basic rate of the Age Pension for a single person. As the Age Pension rate indexes twice a year, so will the basic daily fee. Find out more about the basic daily fee at

The means-tested care fee

Cost: Between $0 and $27,232 (capped) a year (as at 1 January 2019) Generally, a person with assets over $204,000 can be asked to pay a means-tested care fee. (Assessable assets as defined by the Aged Care Act 1997. Based on rates and thresholds as at 1 January 2019.)

The means-tested care fee is a contribution towards day-to-day care costs in an aged care home. The amount payable depends on two components – a combined income and assets assessment and the cost of the care for your loved one. However, there are annual and lifetime caps in place to limit the amount of the means-tested care fee they can be asked to pay.

Other costs

Other costs charged by the aged care provider should be advertised.

There are two types of extra fees:

  • extra service fees for aged care homes with extra service status. These fees could be for higher standards of food, accommodation and hotel-type services.
  • additional fees for other care or services that are in addition to those that the home must provide.

Accommodation is usually the largest cost associated with the move to residential aged care. Frequently requiring the sale of many assets or large assets, strategies to fund accommodation is a key aspect of aged care advice. Although there are mechanisms in place for those with very little means to have their accommodation subsidised by the Government, there will still be many who will need to pay the published price of their chosen aged care home (or an amount agreed with the home).

There are many strategies to fund lump sums and/or ongoing payments, and depending on the resident’s circumstances, some can work better than others. The most commonly used strategies are:

1. selling existing assets to fund lump sums;
2. selling the former home where there are no other assets;
3. renting the home to fund ongoing payments;
4. accessing the Centrelink pension loan scheme;
5. loans from family members; and
6. releasing equity from the former home.

Your advisers can help you work out which is the best option for your loved one. Call us on 02 8599 0835 or e-mail to


After a client enters residential aged care, decisions or factors beyond their control can impact both Age Pension entitlement as well as aged care costs.

These factors may include:

  • Assessment of the former home
  • Selling the former home
  • Change in living arrangements, and
  • Death of a partner

NO, you never have to sell your home if you don’t want to. Nobody can force you to sell your home.

Although once you see the financial outcome of various alternatives you may choose to sell your home.


Here is a summarised list of what to do, what is needed & where to go for help;

1. Get an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)

Arrange to have the person get an ACAT Assessment (Aged Care Assessment Team). The ACAT is your gateway into aged care. Without the ACAT assessment most aged care facilities won’t start the conversation.

This can be arranged by their doctor, or if the person is in hospital by the Social Workers or Discharge Planners. Alternatively, on the “My Aged care” website, click on the “find a service” tab, then click on “ACAT” type in the suburb & the contact details of the nearest ACAT is available. OR call 1800 200 422 & they can arrange an ACAT assessment for you.

NB Many Social Workers, Discharge Planners & even Aged Care facilities will tell you, that you MUST have the “Means Test Assessment” form (28 page Centrelink form) completed first- NB – WARNING- This is NOT a good idea until you have determined whether the person would be a Supported resident or not- only AFTER you have determined this, should you complete & send in the form- see next section

2. Determine whether the person would be a “Supported resident” or not

The Means test assessment mentioned above will determine 2 things:

Whether the person entering care is to be a “Supported resident” or an “Unsupported resident” ie is a Supported resident has less in assets & income & consequently the Government subsidises the aged care costs more than an Unsupported resident. See the definition of Supported & Unsupported by clicking on the hyperlink. Once the means test assessment has been completed, it is extremely hard to change. Also, there are ways of making some people supported when they are currently Unsupported, & also some aged care facilities do not accept supported residents

To determine how much Means Tested Fee will be charged. Keep in mind that the Means Tested Fee advised by the Department of Human Services is frequently wrong. It is in your best interests to determine what it should be, so that you know if the Government assessment is wrong or right.

It is a good time to seek expertise from an Aged Care Planner (Specialist is aged care) before proceeding to the next steps.

3. Visit Aged Care facilities

Once you have the ACAT assessment & determined whether the person is a Supported resident or not, you should then start visiting aged care facilities, to see which ones you like, that meet your needs e.g.

  • Proximity to family & friends
  • Whether they can offer respite & if so for how long
  • Ability to deliver the care needs required
  • You may require a single room
  • You may require your own EnSite (rather than a shared bathroom)
  • That will accept supported residents (if the person has been assessed as Supported
  • You may require religious based or specific ethnic based facility etc.

Whilst visiting aged care facilities ask them these questions;

  • How much is the Accommodation Payment (formerly known as Accommodation Bond) as a Lump Sum. That facility might tell you that you CAN pay for the Accommodation as a Refundable Accommodation Deposit or as a Daily Accommodation Payment or as a combination of both. However, it the Lump sum of Refundable Accommodation Deposit that we need to know. All other methods of paying are determined form the Lump Sum or Refundable Accommodation Deposit.
  • Ask whether they have an Extra Services Fee, & if so, how much is it?
  • Ask if there are any other fees that they charge NB There might be a Means Tested Fee, however this fee is determined by the Government, the aged care facility will not know how much to charge for this fee until the Government advises them.
  • If the person is likely to be a Supported resident, then also ask the facility IF they will accept a Supported resident (they may use the term Concessional instead of, supported-but it means the same thing). If the answer is yes, then ask
  • Are there any limitations for a supported resident (e.g. they might only accept a supported resident in a shared room -this might not suit your purposes) OR they may have an extensive waiting list

4. Determine the best way to fund aged care

This is where most people need help guidance & expertise from an aged care specialist.

There are many ways of paying for your aged care, yes, it’s true you can pay a Refundable Accommodation Deposit or a Daily Accommodation Payment or combination, but HOW do you do that.

  • Is it better to sell the home or keep the home?
  • Is it better to rent the home?
  • It may be better to rent the home to family member for nominal rent
  • What about selling other assets?
  • Could borrowing from a bank deliver a better outcome, if you want to keep your home?
  • Or borrowing from family, may be wiser
  • We have situations where a family member buys a part of the home to fund the Accommodation as a Refundable Accommodation Deposit

Don’t limit yourself to what you think are the only alternatives, there are often many other possibilities that you might not have considered, that may deliver a better outcome OR it is possible that turning the person into a Supported resident could save thousands of dollars a year.

5. Make the decision about which facility you want

Once you have narrowed it down to your preferred list of facilities, & they have a vacancy, determined their costs, obtained help from an aged care specialist to determine the best way for you to pay for aged care. Make your decision & advise the aged care facility you want to take the bed (keep in mind that if you take too long they may offer the bed to someone else, they must keep their beds as full as possible, so won’t have time for you to take too long to make your decision).

Tell them HOW you wish to pay for the Accommodation Contribution or Accommodation Payment. The aged care facility will then prepare the Residential Aged Care Agreement (contract) based on how you wish to pay for the Accommodation.

6. Complete the Means Test Form (SA457)

Centrelink form called ‘Permanent Residential Aged Care Request for a Combined Asset & Income Assessment”.

We believe you should complete this form only AFTER you have determined which facility you want. It is not always important to do this especially if the person is NOT going to be Supported. However, it is always better to be sure.

We have had clients that could have been Supported, but weren’t because of;

  • Errors made by Centrelink in processing the form, or
  • Because the client completed the form incorrectly or
  • Because Centrelink used what was on the persons file with Centrelink & it was out of date
  • A small change to their circumstances- could have made them supported

There have been other instances where clients were Supported, but the aged care facility they wanted would not accept a supported resident, however the family would have paid the full Accommodation Payment for them, but once supported you can’t do that.

Most people don’t understand the importance & significance of getting this part right.

7. Sign the Residential Aged Care Agreement

The Residential Aged Care Agreement (contract) is basically the agreement which gets the two parties to agree that the facility will provide & deliver care & the resident will pay the fees. Naturally there is more to it than that, but however that is the essence of the agreement.

There is NO need to worry or panic about the agreement, it is not like a real estate contract, where once you have settled on the purchase of the property it is yours, you are stuck with it.

With Aged Care, if you want to leave, you tell the facility you are moving on, & if you have paid the lump sum (Refundable Accommodation Deposit) they refund it within 14 days & you move to another facility. That is, you are not stuck there for the rest of your life you can move to another facility if you like.

Beware that moving to another facility MAY change the funding arrangements & it is possible that you could lose your supported status, & you will need to do another Means Test form with Centrelink.

Your advisers can help you build a tailored strategy to help you navigate these issues.

Sam El Shammaa

Sam El Shammaa

Director/Financial Planner

For more than 20 years, Sam has been a financial planner helping individuals and families achieve their financial planning goals, by providing advice on Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning; and Estate Planning. Working with a network of highly skilled professionals in Sydney he is dedicated to providing high-quality advice and integrated wealth management solutions that simplify and enhance the quality of his clients' lives.

Sam established his own firm in 1997 and has overseen its steady development and growth. Attention to detail, good listening skills and great empathy are symbols of his appreciation by his clients. He has built long-term relationships with his growing client base and aims to provide excellent customer service.

Sam began his financial planning career in 1993 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in 1991. Since this time he has accumulated many professional qualifications such as:

Sam has volunteered with the Cancer Council of NSW and can be seen almost every year volunteering or participating in the 7 bridges walk.

Away from the business, he enjoys spending weekends with his son. He is also a football (soccer) tragic and is a massive Chelsea FC fan.

George Pereira

George Pereira

Financial Planner

Having worked for national financial planning companies in the past, George has extensive experience in the provision of advice in risk insurance, investments and retirement planning and is focused on forming long-term relationships with his clients.

George has been awarded a Masters of Commerce (Financial Planning) and a Bachelor of Commerce through University of Western Sydney as well as having the Diploma of Financial Services (Financial Planning).

Jane Lim

Jane Lim

Financial Planner

Jane Lim is a friendly character with a bubbly personality. She has the unique ability of making complex information sound simple and easy to digest.

Jane entered the financial services industry in 2006, and worked with big blue-chip financial companies such as Count Financial Limited and AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd.

She holds a Master's degree in Applied Finance through Macquarie University, and she is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Being a self-confessed "tennis nut", Jane spends many weeknights in the tennis court, and is a frequent member of Sydney's Eastern Suburbs Tennis Competition.

Being a highly motivated professional, Jane is always eager to help her clients on a wide range of financial planning needs.

Paul Jayashekar

Paul Jayashekar

Mortgage Broker/Financial Planner

Paul has been a financial planner for over 15 years helping individuals and families successfully achieve their financial planning goals. He is very focused on building successful long-term harmonious relationships with his clients.

He provides a holistic approach on various aspects of financial advice encompassing areas such as Investment Planning; Insurance Planning; Tax Planning; Retirement Planning and has extensive experience and knowledge in these fields.

Paul's professional qualifications are:

Away from his professional life, he enjoys spending his time with his family doing various activities such as coaching his son and taking him to games. He is a very avid sports fan and a cricket enthusiast.

Christian Tanadinata

Christian Tanadinata

Client Services Manager

Christian joined Capitalwise as Client Services Manager, with backgrounds in both customer service and administration.

Christian is passionate in providing excellent customer service by being attentive to client’s need as well as being able to circumnavigate challenges.

He holds a Master's degree in Commerce specialising in Marketing through the University of New South Wales.

Volunteering is one of his delights in life, where he had spent time being involved with the Centre for Volunteering, St Vincent de Paul's Society, and Sculpture by the Sea in a variety of positions.

Jenny Zhou
Max Reinhardt

Max Reinhardt

Financial Adviser
B Econ (Hons) Cert IV FS (MB) Dip. FS (FP) AFB MeSAFAA

Max has over 20 years experience in the finance and lending industry of which over 15 years has been in financial advice. Max attained a Bachelor of Economics honours degree at The University of Sussex in 2004, after which he settled in Australia with his family.

Max has never stopped studying as he is always looking at ways he can better assist his clients and has studied many courses in financial advice, lending and technical analysis as he continues to try and stay ahead of his competitors in terms of the knowledge he can share with his clients.
Max has worked for several large and successful organisations before starting his own business in 2014. He has gained valuable experience from the likes of Lloyds Bank, American Express, HSBC, General Electric, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac. He draws on this vast experience to benefit his clients whilst bringing a much more personal touch than you would get from one of these larger organisations.

Max’s philosophy is to always put his clients first, which is what makes him so successful and popular with his clients, having built a thriving business primarily through referrals from very happy clients.

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