If you’re eligible for residential care, the next step is to find an aged care home that’s right for you. You will want to connect with a home that suits your preferences and will meet your care needs — both now and into the future.
On this page, we cover the key steps involved in searching for and connecting with the right provider for your needs:
Before connecting with providers...
Make sure you have taken these steps first:
Find providers near you
There are a few ways to find an aged care home:
- Ask your assessor to refer you to an aged care home. If you choose this option, the assessor will refer you to a local provider, who will then contact you directly.
- Use the Find a provider tool to search for local aged care homes yourself. If you choose this option, your assessor will give you a referral code. You can give this referral code to your chosen provider, and they will take it forward from there.
- Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 for guidance.
Create a shortlist
Every aged care home is different. It’s good to compare what is available to determine the best match for you.
One of the easiest ways to create a shortlist is by using the Find a provider tool on this website. When comparing providers, there are a few things to consider:
Many factors can influence where you want to stay, such as surroundings, people, and services. 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.
Accommodation and cost
You may want to think about the size and type of room you want. There are single and shared room options, most with ensuites. There are rooms of different sizes and decor, and this variation can sometimes affect the cost. For information on how to work out costs and how much you may need to pay, read our aged care homes costs and fees page.
Your cultural or diverse needs
All aged care homes must provide support for people with cultural and diverse needs. Some offer specialised services for particular needs such as languages, religions, or background. These preferences can be included in your Find a provider search to help narrow down your choices and create a more tailored list.
Not all aged care homes have availability for new residents. Depending on when you would like to move, you may need to apply sooner rather than later. You can see aged care homes with current availability using the Find a provider tool and contact them for confirmation. Then, you can add aged care homes to your shortlist, based on when you want to move.
All aged care homes have to meet the Aged Care Quality Standards. If 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 non-compliance decisions) by using Find a provider's name search function. When you’re looking at a provider’s profile, you can find this information by selecting the ‘Compliance’ tab.
Visit your shortlisted aged care homes
Once you have a shortlist of homes, it’s a good idea to visit them. This can give you a sense of what it would be like to live there. You can see firsthand the facilities and accommodation, meet other residents, and staff, and see what types of care services and activities they offer.
What to take with you
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.
Who can come with you
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.
What to look for
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 place feel to you?
- What's the environment like?
- 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?
- 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?
- Are there any social activities going on?
- If you’ve visited during mealtimes, is the food to your taste? 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?
Apply to your preferred aged care homes
The next step is to apply to your preferred aged care home.
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.
If you have found more than one aged care home you like, it’s best to apply to them all. That way you have the best chance of securing a spot. If you don’t get your first choice, you may get another.
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.
Services Australia will provide the aged care home with the outcome of your means assessment. If they are yet to receive this information, the provider may ask you for some financial information. It’s up to you whether you provide this information.
If you haven’t had your means assessment, you should do so now as the process takes time. Without it, you will be unable to receive any government assistance towards the cost of living there.
Read more about the means assessment.
Accept 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. Applying for two or three places gives you more options and a better chance to assess what you’ll get for your money.
If you are receiving other aged care supports like a Home Care Package, don’t forget to let your Home Care provider know you are moving into an aged care home.
Read more about what to do when you are ready to accept an offer on our Agreeing to services page.