What to expect when moving into an aged care home
Once you have been offered a place in an aged care home, you can start preparing to move.
There are many things to consider and remember when you’re moving. It can be overwhelming. Even something simple like updating your address can be forgotten.
What to expect when you move
Who should I tell?
Download our checklist of people and organisations you might need to tell that you’ve moved.
What can I bring with me?
Your aged care home will already have all the furniture and furnishings you need, but you can often bring your own small items. Ask the home what you can bring with you as each home has its own guidelines.
Who can help me move in?
Your family, friends, and carer can help you move in. It can be a good idea to move in at a quiet time of the day so the staff have more time to help you settle in. Ask your aged care home when the best time is.
Who can support me?
Make sure you meet with the manager of your aged care home. Let them know if you need any help settling in. If you need any support, they should have information about services like counselling or 'buddy systems' so you can settle in comfortably.
Your family members, carer, or a friend may like to stay for a bit while you become more familiar with the place.
After you’ve moved in
When you move into your aged care home, there will be different people to meet, and new routines and surroundings to get used to.
There are some things that won’t change, though. You’ll still get to decide what to do every day. You’ll maintain control over your personal matters, your finances, and your privacy. Your family and friends will also be able to visit whenever you want.
What to expect
Developing your care plan
After you move into an aged care home, the staff should sit down with you - and your family or friends if you like - to discuss your care needs and develop your care plan. The plan outlines your care needs and instructions on how to make sure they are met.
If you already have a care plan that’s been developed by a community nurse, allied health professional or your doctor, you can bring that with you.
Looking after your health
When you are in an aged care home, you will still need to visit the doctor, the dentist, or other health professionals. Your home has a responsibility to help you manage your general health needs.
What medical professional will I see?
You can keep your own doctor or dentist and continue to visit them as you always have. If you are unable to leave the home, their staff may be able to arrange for them to visit you. If your doctor or dentist is unable to do this, your home should help you choose another health professional.
How do I book the appointments?
You don’t need to worry about booking medical appointments. Your aged care home will help you arrange these free of charge.
How will I get there?
Your aged care home can help organise travel to and from your appointments. You may be asked to pay for the transport, and for a staff member to accompany you - if your family, friends, carer or a volunteer cannot come with you.
Will I have to pay for the appointment?
You will be expected to pay for your medical consultation fees. Any Medicare or private insurer rebate will still apply.
Veterans can continue to access services covered by their treatment cards. They may also be able to access allied health services and aids and equipment under the Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP). Read more on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) website.
Planning for the future
You may have health preferences, particularly around treatment during a serious illness. It is important that those who might need to look after you, including your aged care home, know about them in advance.
This way you can still have the treatment you want if you can no longer take part in decisions about your health.
One way you can do this is to outline your medical treatment preferences in a document known as an Advance Health Directive (also known as an Advance Care Directive). Read more about this on our end-of-life care page.
Managing your money
You will still have complete control over your money. The aged care home should have someone on staff to help you make any kind of financial arrangements you need.
How do I make payments?
Some aged care homes offer services such as direct debit so you can pay your aged care fees and other costs automatically, either from your bank account or by credit card. In some cases, you might be able to have your pension directed to the home so that your fees and other costs, such as chemist bills, can be deducted.
Planning for the future
It’s important to finalise a will for your estate and personal affairs. You can give the aged care home the name of the executor of your will so that the information is available if needed. Again, it’s about making sure your wishes are respected.
Managing your wellbeing
Staying independent and social is an important part of living in an aged care home. To help with this, your home will organise social activities from time to time.
There should be a range of activities, outings, and hobbies you can take part in. Most aged care homes have dedicated leisure and lifestyle staff who plan and run a variety of activities. Some are run in-house, by either the staff or other residents.
How can I participate?
You can choose to take part in as many or as few activities as you like. You have a say in what is planned. So, let your home know what your hobbies and interests are so they can arrange activities you will enjoy.
Will there be activities outside the home?
Yes. From time to time the home may organise excursions and outings out into the community. You may be charged for transport to these activities.
Can I attend personal events and activities outside the home?
Yes. You can leave the home to attend personal events and activities during the day (health permitting). Your home can also help you organise transport, but may charge you for any transport costs.
Staying connected to your family, friends, and wider community is important to your quality of life.
Family and friends
When you move into an aged care home, your family and friends will still be part of your life.
Can they visit me?
Yes. Your family and friends will be able to visit you, and as long as your health allows, you can visit them. Talk to your home about their visiting arrangements.
Can they still be involved in my care?
Yes. Your family and friends can continue to help out and be involved in your care. Talk to your aged care home manager about how they can help.
If your family, friends, or carer need to talk to someone about how their role has changed, they can access the Carer Gateway. The Carer Gateway is a national service funded by the Australian Government. It provides a range of information that can help carers in their role and find the right services. Call 1800 422 737 or access their website for more information about how they can help.
If you are feeling alone and don’t have regular contact with family or friends, the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) can help.
The CVS can organise volunteers to visit people living in Government-funded aged care homes. There are coordinators in each state and territory who can match you with a suitable regular visitor. They can also link you with a group in your aged care home based on your interests, hobbies and background.
Read more about the CVS organisations in your area.
Visitors from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community
There are also Community Visitors Schemes especially for the LGBTI community in:
- New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory
- Western Australia
Find contact details for LGBTI services in your state.
Visitors from ex-service organisations
If you are a veteran, war widow or war widower, or member of the veteran community, you may be able to invite representatives from ex-service organisations (ESOs) to visit you. If you would like someone to visit, you or your family can contact the local branch of the appropriate organisation to make arrangements.
Your aged care home should give you healthy, well-balanced meals with a variety of foods.
Will they cater for my dietary needs?
Yes. They should also consider your health care needs and your dietary customs or religious beliefs, so let them know what you like or don't like, and what you can't have. If you like, you can ask a family member or friend to tell them.