How much does a nursing home cost in Australia? It’s an expected question for anyone looking into residential aged care support, whether for themselves, a parent or a friend. Residential aged care fees can seem a little complicated at first, so we thought we’d break each of these down in a clear way.    

What does it cost to live in a nursing home? Understanding aged care fees

The first important thing to note is that people of all means can access aged care in Australia, and that there are many different options when it comes to finding the right aged care home for your needs.

Let’s look at the various fees that may apply as you access residential aged care, which typically include: 

  • The basic daily fee
  • Accommodation fee
  • A means-tested care fee, if applicable
  • Additional service fees, where relevant. 

The basic daily fee

Everyone accessing residential aged care will pay a basic daily fee, which covers everyday services at an aged care home like meals, cleaning and laundry. 

The basic daily fee is set by the Australian Government at 85% of the basic aged pension, and updated twice a year. You can check the current basic daily fee on the Department of Health website, but at the time of writing this was set at a little over $56 per day. 

Accommodation fee structure and options

In addition to the basic daily fee, each aged care resident will also have accommodation costs. Your eligibility for government assistance with these is assessed through a means assessment by Services Australia. Depending on your unique situation, your accommodation costs might be partly or fully funded by the government, or you might be asked to pay these in full.

Every residential aged care home sets its own accommodation pricing which can depend on factors like room size, whether the room is shared or private, and the facility’s location. At Aurrum Aged Care, we make our pricing clear for each of our aged care home locations.  

Accommodation pricing can be paid in three different ways, depending on your circumstances and eligibility for government assistance:

Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD)

You may choose to pay your accommodation costs through a lump sum payment, known as a RAD. If you are eligible for government assistance with accommodation costs, this can include a refundable accommodation contribution (RAC). If a resident leaves or passes away, the pro rata remainder of the RAD is returned.

Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP)

You may choose to pay your accommodation costs through a daily accommodation charge. This might be a daily accommodation payment (DAP) if you pay the full amount yourself, or involve a daily accommodation contribution (DAC) if the government is helping with the costs.

A combination of a single payment (RAD) and ongoing payments (DAP)

You may choose to pay your accommodation costs through a combination of a lump sum and daily accommodation payments. This can be split in any way you choose.

My Aged Care has a useful page that provides more details about understanding accommodation costs.

Means-tested care fees

If you are assessed as being able to pay, a means-tested care fee can also apply as well as the residential aged care fees mentioned above. This covers personal and clinical care.

How are means-tested fees calculated?

Means-tested fees are calculated based on a list of factors such as annual income, marital status and home ownership. There are annual and lifetime caps that apply to the means tested care fee, so you won’t need to pay past a certain amount. 

Additional service fees

While some aged care homes charge additional service fees for things like pay TV or WiFi.

At Aurrum Aged Care, we choose not to charge extra service fees here at any of our aged care locations, as we believe things like fast WiFi or a glass of wine with dinner should be included for every resident. We also ensure any services like hairdresser visits or manicures are set at a reasonable rate. 

What if I have difficulties paying my accommodation fees?

If there are reasons beyond your control that make it impossible to afford your aged care home costs, you can ask to be considered for financial hardship assistance. Depending on your eligibility, this may help with your basic daily fee, accommodation costs and means-tested care fee. It’s worth noting that financial hardship assistance won’t cover additional service fees. 

Getting financial advice prior may be able to help you reduce your assessible assets and find the best payment structure to suit your needs. You can access Service Australia’s Financial Information Service (FIS) at no cost. 

What does respite care cost?

Respite care describes short term care that might be used while recuperating, or to give a carer a break. The amount you pay will depend on the type of respite care you access, whether it’s residential respite, community respite or emergency respite.

You can visit My Aged Care’s page on short term care costs to learn more, under the heading Respite Care Fees. 

Who else can help?

My Aged Care is run by the Australian Government and can be one of the most helpful places to go to for information on in-home care and aged care home costs, cost structures and assistance. This is also where you can apply for assessment to access government funding for aged care services. 

My Aged Care also provides a useful aged care fee estimator, which you can use to gain an idea of what a place in an aged care home might cost depending on your circumstances. 

As we mentioned above, Financial Information Service (FIS) is a free financial service that can help you understand the intricacies of aged care costs and how they might apply for your situation. Of course, you can also choose to obtain financial advice from your preferred provider. 

Get in touch today

It can often be helpful to speak with someone directly while making decisions about aged care. Our friendly team at Aurrum Aged Care would be happy to answer your questions about aged care and costs, and provide a personalised tour for any of our locations for assisted living in Victoria and NSW. This is available with no expectations or pressure at all. 

To arrange a visit or conversation, simply fill in our enquiry form or call us on 1800 287 786.

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