Would you welcome a stranger’s help?

Using in-home care is a big step for people who have lived independently for decades. Those who value their privacy may find it harder still, as it means a stranger will be allowed into their home.

In many situations, a carer may need to access most parts of your home. And if you need considerable help with bathing, dressing or toileting, then the boundaries of your comfort may also be crossed.

This year, the Federal Government has made help-at-home packages more versatile to a greater number of older Australians.

But are concerns about your independence and privacy putting you off considering in-home care?

The best way to answer this question is to explore the Government’s My Aged Care website.

The website outlines all its services, many of which are not intrusive, and some of which you may be eligible for a subsidy, such as help with housework, gardening, meals, transport, installation of hand rails or ramps, nursing, physiotherapy and other therapies, and even social activities.

If you need help with everyday chores, have a special needs disability or an illness, it is definitely worth asking for assistance. Even if you need help for just a short period, for example, to recover from an operation, you may be eligible to receive a service.

Once you have made a decision to use a home help provider, ensure that you have a list of questions to answer all of your concerns. These could include:

  • How can family and friends be involved in my care?
  • How can care staff be involved in quality improvements?
  • How is the quality of care and services measured?
  • What are you doing to improve the quality of care and services?
  • What areas are you working on improving and what results have you seen?
  • How do you involve older people, their families and carers in quality improvement?
  • How do you ensure the privacy of information about me?

Your wellbeing is paramount and even after you have enlisted a provider, speak up if you believe something is out of the ordinary in the way the service is being delivered. Always remember you are entitled to a high standard of care, and to respect and dignity.

If you feel the home help provider is not meeting your needs, you can contact an advocacy service such as the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN).

This network can inform you of your aged care rights, help to resolve concerns and complaints, speak with your provider on your behalf, assist with decisions about the care you receive and refer you to other agencies, if necessary.

For more information, call the National Aged Care Advocacy Line on 1800 700 600 (freecall) or visit the Older Persons Advocacy Network website.

Do you know of any home help horror stories? Have you used My Aged Care packages? What did you think of them?

Related articles:
More in-home care choice
Home care vs aged care
Staying at home longer

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