1. Get your eligibility assessed
Before you can enter an aged care facility and receive Government support, your health situation must be assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). The assessors are generally health professionals who specialise in aged care.
This is a free service that can be done at home, in a health centre or hospital. The purpose is to determine whether you are eligible to move into residential care, or can access a range of care services that would enable you to stay in your home longer.
2. Find a suitable facility
Once ACAT has determined whether your eligibility for residential aged care and the care services you may need, it’s a good idea to visit a few facilities.
Remember each facility is different and not all aged care facilities will be able to meet your care needs.
3. Work out the cost
While our Government provides some funding for residential aged care facilities, those who can afford it are expected to contribute to the cost of their care. The four different fees you may be asked to pay include:
4. Seek advice
Moving into residential aged care can be financially challenging. However, obtaining financial advice can help reduce a lot of the stress by helping you to:
5. Apply for an aged care facility
Once you’ve decided the type of care you want and can afford, and your estate planning affairs are in order, it’s time to apply. It may be a good idea to lodge an application with a few places and ask to go on the ‘waitlist’ in case your preferred aged care facility is not available.
If you are offered a place, you must be given a copy of the accommodation agreement before you move in. This agreement sets out the key terms and conditions and it should be reviewed by a legal professional. You must sign the agreement and decide how you will make the accommodation payment within 28 days of entering the facility.
 An Aged Care Assessment Team is referred to as an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria. In this article a reference to ACAT, includes a reference to the Victorian ACAS.