Aged Care is Complicated (And It's Not Your Fault)

Posted 31st May 2024 | 3 minute read

Written by Jesse Gramenz 

carer looking stressed ilustration

Every person who has ever gone through the aged care process has wondered: is this really complicated or is there something wrong with me? I am here to assure you, yes, it is complicated. And no, you're not stupid.

It's true. Aged care is just complicated.

Even the experts agree, aged care is complicated.

Whether it's residential aged care, home care, respite care or anything in between there's a lot you're going to have to learn along the way.

The process is complicated

When it comes to aged care, there's a lot of things to do:

  • Work out your eligibility for subsidised care,
  • Organise clinical appointments and assessments,
  • Chat with GPs, hospitals, social workers, allied health workers,
  • Research aged care providers
  • If using home care you've got to work out your home care package amounts and what providers offer
  • Work out costs of homes + financial assets and means testing,
  • Move out of the family home,
  • Sort out legal documents (like Power of Attorney),
  • Write down elderly loved one's life stories and preferences,
  • Fill out pharmacy forms...

The list goes on. And we're not even factoring in the emotional strain of all of this either.

The transition of helping mum move into the reality of this was the next phase of her life for me was quite stressful because amongst all of this, my husband died so I was in a different space and the actual packing up of the home unit where she lived to the ceiling to the move was terrible for all of us, but most especially mum.

Margaret, daughter of aged care resident Gwen - from Episode 1 of the Navigating Aged Care Podcast

Even aged care experts agree: this isn't easy. And it's certainly not something people should have to go through alone.

Read on:

People are complicated

We're not even talking about other people here -- we're talking about you!

For a lot of people, there's shame and guilt tied up in even bringing up the idea of aged care, let alone going through with it.

brian chatting on the st vincecnt's care podcast on a couch

I think we might have unwittingly underestimated the level of trauma that there is in making that final decision that your life is different.

Brian, son of aged care resident Gwen - Episode 1 of the Navigating Aged Care Podcast

Read on:

After dad passed away, which obviously was not our plan, it was very sudden. And so it was a big shift for the whole family like this. All of a sudden everything's just turned on its head and everything's changed. 

When the discussion of aged care came up, I mean it was a hard one. It wasn't an easy conversation in that we are factoring in all these different emotions about life has just changed so dramatically and so quickly

Sheridan, daughter of aged care resident Grace on Episode 1 of the Navigating Aged Care Podcast


Where you can get help

St Vincent's Care Team

You can call St Vincent's on 1800 718 330 to get started with aged care or home care. BUT, your first step should be to get an Aged Care Assessment done to see what level of care you might need. While we can help you get started and talk you through our services, we won't be able to go any further until you get your My Aged Care Referral Code.

Aged Care Assessment

To find out if you are eligible for Australian Government support for residential aged care or home care services, you MUST be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). To find your local Aged Care Assessment Team contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. 

My Aged Care
 Your hub for everything Aged Care. You can search for aged care providers and services and learn more about how Aged Care works. 

Dementia Australia
 Dementia Australia is a consumer organisation that provides information, support advocacy and education to people with dementia, family members and carers, as well as health professionals and the wider community. 

Australian Government Department Of Veterans’ Affairs
This website provides information on pensions, health, housing and commemorations for former members of the Australian Defence Force and their families and friends.

Australian Government Department Of Immigration And Border Protection: Translating And Interpreting Service (Tis National)Translating and interpreting help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with TIS National.

For carers

Carer Gateway
 A government funded site giving advice and guidance to carers and providing avenues for financial support. 

Carers Australia
Carers Australia is the national peak body representing Australia’s carers. It advocates on their behalf to influence policies and services at a national level. 

 Caring for a loved one can be extremely difficult. If you’re at a breaking point, you can talk to someone at Lifeline for guidance and advice.


What services might help you

Aged care doesn't just mean an aged care home.

You can have a choice of:

  • Home care (aged care services in the comfort of your own home)
  • Respite care (short term care) in an aged care home, cottage community setting or at home -- this is great to give carers a break
  • Transition care -- for when you're coming out of hospital and need a bit of extra support

While the whole process can seem daunting, it can be nice to know that you've got choices and the experts you're working with will help you decide what's best for you.

Parting thoughts

Aged care is complicated. There's no sugar coating it. 

But set yourself up by talking to the right people, as early as possible and take it one step at a time and you'll feel a lot more comfortable with what can be a pretty daunting process.

Still have questions?

st vincent's call centre worker