25 October 2017

Considerations when comparing aged care residences

What to look for when deciding on an aged care residence


Some of the choices we need to make as we get older can certainly be daunting, and the decision to leave our own home to move into residential aged care is one of the biggest some of us will ever face.

Entry into residential aged care is based on need and must be determined in an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) report. This assessment details what type of care is necessary for the individual and allows for reduced fees as the aged care company can claim government funding.

Do you need an ACAT assessment?

The ACAT assessment looks at an individual’s ability to manage routine activities such as personal hygiene and meal preparation as well as their medical needs before determining if a person requires a residential aged care placement. ACAT is government-funded and is able to come to your home for the initial assessment.

While moving may not have been your first choice, the good news is there are a lot of excellent aged care residences out there. Aged care isn’t what it used to be and you will be pleasantly surprised as to how it has changed.

What do you want?

It is important to be clear about what you want to start with. For some, the ratio of staff to residents may be the deciding factor in which aged care residence they move into. For others, the decision may rest around whether a residence is both culturally sensitive and appropriate.

Others may focus on the amenities that the aged care residence provides or their lifestyle offering.


When you move into an aged care residence, it is important to be fully aware of all costs and expenses around your care.

The costs involved in residential aged care are split into two categories: accommodation and care.

You must complete and lodge an Income and Assets Assessment form which can be found on the Department of Human Services website.

Staffing needs

Australia has no current legislation mandating staff to resident ratios in aged care.

Clients are encouraged to ask individual residences what their staff to resident ratio is and factor this into their decision.

You should also inquire about whether there is a registered nurse on 24/7, check minimum qualifications staff are required to have and how often doctors and other medical specialists attend the premises.

Dedicated Assignments, an Arcare initiative, has garnered recognition both nationally and internationally.

The term means team members work with the same small number of clients each time they come to work. This fosters a consistent, nurturing and trusting relationship between clients and the people who are supporting them.


In the same way we consider a multitude of options when we buy a home to live in, we need to consider many of the same factors when moving into an aged care residence.

For some, this may mean moving closer to family and friends. For others, it’s important to stay in the community they have lived and worked in.


For some looking into residential aged care, the lifestyle offering may be the most important consideration.

The activities, events and opportunities provided allow clients to continue with their hobbies and pursue new passions.

Many aged care residences offer a bus for clients to use for outings and day trips to places like restaurants, galleries, or parks and gardens.

For those who are limited in mobility, there are a number of options available within the residence: from hobby groups, concerts, classes and workshops.

The amenities

Many aged care residences have terrific amenities for clients and their families to enjoy.

Movie theatres, hair salons, cafés and private dining rooms are just some of the options available.

The move away from your home into a residential aged care residence may not have been what you were hoping for, but with the evolution of aged care and a consumer base demanding quality care at affordable prices, you are in a position to make the best choice for you and your family.