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When it comes time to organise aged care services for a family member, we may find ourselves confused by the options available and under pressure to make the best choice. 

Whether it’s the first time you’ve had to access aged care or you’ve done it before, navigating through the system can be a tough slog.

There are a myriad of aged care options available, from home care through to residential aged care and now increasingly aged care communities like Seasons, which deliver aged care in a retirement village setting using a home care model.

It’s harder than ever to compare the different options and understand how much it’s all going to cost and whether your income and assets will affect how much you pay and that’s even before you’ve started to look at the aged care facilities available!

So, when you start comparing your options – what should you be looking for?

Visiting an aged care community or facility is the best way to get a feel for the place and what’s on offer. Look around you and see how staff and residents interact, how tidy the place looks, what facilities are available and how happy the staff and residents appear.

While modern aged care facilities may look great and seem to offer impressive services and amenities, it’s important to delve deeper to find out more about the care delivery and the level of autonomy that residents enjoy.

Here is a guide to top questions to ask an aged care provider you’re considering. While these questions may be more suited to residential aged care or aged care communities, some of these are also relevant to ask home care providers too.

Aged Care delivery, staffing and quality

Do you provide all levels of care?

Do you have personalised care plans for each resident?

Does the resident and family have involvement in the care plan process?

Do I get to keep a copy of the care plan?

How often is the care plan assessed and updated?

What happens if my care needs change?

Will I need to move if my care needs change?

Can residents keep their chosen doctor and specialists?

Can I access health services such as GPs, podiatrists and physiotherapists on site?

Do you provide support for palliative and end of life care?

How do you ensure there’s the right amount of staff available?

Is there continuity of staff offered?

Can residents choose their own morning and evening routines?

What happens in the event of an emergency?

What role do registered nurses have in care/service delivery?

How can family and friends be involved in care delivery?

Can my family provide some of the services for me if I choose? Will this reduce my costs?

Do you have a 24-hour emergency call system?

Are staff available on-site 24/7?

What is your approach to supporting individuals and couples where one or both are diagnosed with dementia?

Food

What food is provided?

Are meals cooked fresh on premises?

How often does the menu change?

How do you cater for particular dietary requirements?

Do residents have alternatives if they don’t like what’s on the menu?

Does every resident have to attend meal service in the dining room?

Can family members join in for meals?

Are their special meal events for special occasions?

Is alcohol available?

Accommodation

What are the conditions of my accommodation (free-hold, rent, lease, bond, government funded) and what are my rights and responsibilities?

What is included in the room/apartment? (furnishings, television, whitegoods, internet, phone and pay TV services)

What kind of adapted furnishings or equipment can be supplied?

Is there air conditioning and are there individual controls?

What security is there available?

What design or safety elements are fitted or can be used in the room/apartment?

Can residents bring their own furniture and personal items?

Are all rooms/apartments wheelchair accessible? 

Lifestyle and community

What lifestyle activities are available?

What special services do you offer such as hairdresser, chapel, café, transport or internet access?

Are activities mandatory or do you have a choice of what activities you do?

If a resident chooses to stay in their room/apartment, how often are they checked on?

How do you encourage physical activity and exercise?

Are residents encouraged to make suggestions for or run their own lifestyle programs?

Can you bring pets?

Is the building equipped for easy mobility?

Visits and communication

What is your policy about complaints and concerns?

What is your preferred form of communication with family members?

Do residents have a phone?

Who is my best point of contact to inquire about a resident?

When can I visit? Are there any restrictions on visiting hours?

Can family, including grandchildren stay over and for how long?

Payments

What is my upfront cost?

What is my weekly payment?

How and when is this charged?

How is my care funded? What is the upfront or ongoing cost for this?

What other costs will I need to cover in addition to these fees?

What fees do I need to pay on exit?

Do any penalty fees/interest apply?

Download your printable choosing an aged care facility checklist.

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Connect With Me
Belinda Peters
Belinda brings more than 17 years experience in journalism to her role as Seasons Digital Content Writer. As our blog editor, Belinda will take the confusion out of aged care with entertaining and informative stories from across the aged care industry and our Seasons communities.