Tips and advice
The process to reach this moment is often lengthy as many delay the decision to seek care, and when they finally do, the process is long and complex. For those that make their way through the assessment, any goods news of being approved for funding can be short-lived as the question of what to do while on the National Waitlist arises.
Official waiting times for Level 1 packages are listed as 3-6 months while Levels 2-4 can take between nine and 12 months to come through, according to the latest data on the government website My Aged Care (last revised 31 May 2021).
However, the desperate calls from families waiting long beyond these times tells a different story, and the lack of practical help and advice only adds to their mounting frustration and concerns.
This experience struck at our core as a provider determined to change the aged care status quo, and so we’ve compiled our Top 7
National Waitlist Survival Tips
regarding what to do during the long wait.
This is our favourite, and it happens to be our own. We give anyone on the National Waitlist 1hr per week of free support with no obligation or cost, and then any subsequent hours of care are charged at a reduced Waitlist Rate. We complete all the necessary safety and health checks, and then provide the same close care we give all of our clients. What’s not to love about that.
This scheme is an entry level home care program provided by the government to help fund services such as meals, respite care, help at home and more. It’s generally simpler and takes less time to gain access to funding but also offers much less funding than a Home Care Package. While you are waiting, it can help reduce the cost of care significantly – for example, a cleaner might cost you $8/hr out of pocket. Click to find out more.
Establishing a plan ensures you make the best use of any resources you do have, including friends, family, health providers, neighbours and any services, such as cleaners. The plan needs to set priorities and create a schedule to ensure the most important things are handled. Generally, anything affecting health and safety are going to be your top priorities. Ask someone in your support circle to help set up your plan, or you could engage a provider like us to help establish this for you.
To minimise further health issues arising from home hazards and falls, an occupational therapist can complete a comprehensive safety assessment and provide you with simple, practical advice. This one-off cost (approx. $120) can save significant health issues down the line. Or, there are many free online safety checklists that can help guide you.
Declining health is one of the key issues for people on the National Waitlist, which can impact independence and the ability to remain at home. Seeing your GP more regularly and discussing both your physical health and wellbeing ensures you’re getting the health referrals and care you need to avoid a health crisis later on. Book regular appointments ahead of time, so they are locked in.
You may think about regular meal service deliveries for some or all days in the week, or perhaps have a food delivery app added to your phone for the times when help with meals isn’t available. Grocery deliveries are another great option if getting to the shops is becoming more difficult.
Keeping the home clean and well organised can help with safety, health, hygiene and staying on top of day-to-day activities. Organising a cleaner once a fortnight can make a huge difference, or perhaps things have gotten a little out of hand, and a once-off professional clean might help with getting back on track.