When using the Find a provider tool to create a shortlist, there are a few things to consider:
Finding the right aged care home can take time. You will want to find a home that can meet your care needs, both now and into the future.
The sooner you start thinking about it and looking at what’s available, the more prepared you will be.
What should I look for?
Every aged care home is different. To find a home that’s right for you, you should:
- Create a shortlist of homes that meet your needs
- Visit your preferred home options to get a feel for them and then pick your favourites to apply for.
How do I find aged care homes?
The easiest way is using the Find a provider tool. Simply enter your location to see aged care homes in your local area.
You can also get help to find aged care homes by talking to your assessor, or you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
Creating a shortlist
Where you live is an important choice. You may want to stay in your neighbourhood (or close to it) so you are familiar with the surroundings. Or perhaps you’d like to move closer to family and friends.
Use the tool to see a list of homes in your chosen area. You can also see where they are on a map to check how close they are to family, friends, public transport, and to the places you may regularly want to visit.
You may want to think about the size and type of room you want. There are single and shared room options, some with ensuites. There are rooms of different sizes and decor, and this variation among rooms affects the price. For information on how to work out costs and how much you may need to pay, read our aged care homes costs page.
All aged care homes must provide support for those with cultural and diverse needs. Above and beyond that though, some offer specialised services for particular needs. For instance, if you speak a different language, some homes may have staff who speak that language. Or they may cater for those with a medical condition, like dementia. Some homes provide support to those with particular religious beliefs, or cater to populations such as the LGBTI community or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Not all aged care homes have room to take in new residents. Depending on when you need to move, you may need to apply sooner rather than later. You can see aged care homes with current availability using Find a provider and contact them for confirmation. Then, you can add places to your shortlist based on when you think you’ll need to move.
All aged care homes have to meet accreditation standards. When they don’t meet these standards, they may receive disciplinary action. You can look for any actions the aged care homes may have (known as notices of non-compliance and sanctions) by using the Find a provider tool. Read more on the Quality page.
Visiting your shortlisted aged care homes
Once you have a shortlist of places, it’s a good idea to visit them. This will give you a sense of what it would be like to live there. You will see firsthand the facilities and accommodation, meet other residents and staff, and see what types of care services and activities they offer.
Take a copy of your aged care home approval letter and support plan as this can help explain what care and services you need. Your fee notification letter (if you have it) will also be helpful in your discussion.
Prepare some possible questions you may have before you get there. It’s also a good idea to take a notepad to record what you see and hear, or what you like and don’t like. This will help ensure you cover everything you want to know. We have a list of questions to help get you started.
There will be a lot to take in when you visit. Taking a family member, partner, friend or carer with you can be really helpful in asking questions and recalling the answers. They can also help with discussing and comparing all the places you visit.
While you’re at the aged care home, you’ll notice certain things and form your own opinion. Take your time to walk around and talk to as many people as possible. You may want to keep the following in mind:
- How does the the place feel to you?
- What's the environment like?
- Is it too hot, too cold?
- Is it noisy, too quiet?
Rooms and facilities
- How are the rooms decorated and furnished?
- How big are the bedrooms? How big is the bedroom you’re interested in? Where are the bedrooms located?
- What facilities do they have? Are they modern?
- Is the place clean and tidy?
- What are the common areas like? Are there gardens to enjoy?
Residents and staff
- What are the other residents like? Do they look happy, active, and engaged?
- What are the staff like? How many staff do they have?
- Do the residents have privacy?
- Are there any social activities going on?
- If you’ve visited during mealtimes, what is the food like? What’s on the menu?
- Does the place look organised and well-run?
- Does the aged care home have a dedicated quality manager?
- How do staff and residents interact with each other? Are they respectful, kind, friendly?
I have my preferred aged care homes - what’s next?
The next step is to apply to your preferred providers. The application process is different for each place, but it usually involves an application form, a copy of your assessment, and your fee advice letter. It’s best to apply to as many places as you can. That way you have the best chance of securing a spot.
How do I apply?
It’s best to talk directly to the places you are interested in, to find out how to apply. However, every place will need the same general personal information. You can gather much of this information beforehand.
Aged care homes will need to know some personal information. This can include next of kin, health insurance, preferred language, and previous aged care experience. It can also include your representative’s details, and any power of attorney (if applicable). All aged care homes are required to keep your information private under state and Commonwealth legislation. You can expect that the information you provide in the forms will be treated sensitively by the aged care home.
The Department of Human Services will provide the aged care home with the outcome of your income and assets assessment. If they are yet to receive your results, the provider may ask you for some financial information about any pension or income you receive. It’s up to you whether you provide this information.
If you haven’t had your income and assets assessment, do so now as the process takes time. Without it, you will be unable to receive any government assistance towards the costs of living there.
Read more about the income and assets assessment.
Accepting an offer
Once an offer comes in from an aged care home, it’s up to you to decide what’s the best option. You will need to consider:
- if it is your preferred option or further down on your list
- if the availability/timescale to move in suits you.
It’s important to remember you are not obligated to accept an offer if you don’t want to. Remember, applying for two or three places gives you more options and a better chance to assess what you’ll get for your money.
Read more about what to do when you are ready to accept an offer on our Agreeing to services page.