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Caring for elderly parents: What help is available?

As our parents and the people we love get older, our traditional roles can reverse, and adult children find themselves in the position of caring for their parents. While this can be a deeply rewarding experience, it also comes with its challenges, both emotionally and practically. 

We are lucky in Australia to have various forms of support available to assist you if you’re a part- or full-time carer for elderly parents. From financial help to practical in-home assistance to permanent aged care, knowing what resources are available can help ease the burden on families and ensure the best possible care for ageing parents.

Financial help available

Managing the financial aspects of caring for elderly parents can be overwhelming, but there are several avenues of support provided by the Australian Government. 

1. Carer Payment

The Carer Payment is a means-tested income support payment for those who spend a large part of their regular days giving constant care to someone who has a disability or severe medical condition, or an adult who is ‘frail aged’. It’s also for people who are providing care for someone at the end of their life. You can learn more about eligibility and how to apply on the Services Australia website.

2. Carer Allowance

The Carer Allowance is a fortnightly supplement available to carers who provide additional daily care and attention to people with a disability or medical condition, or someone who is ‘frail aged’. This allowance is not means-tested, and it can provide supplementary income to help cover the costs associated with caring for elderly parents.You can learn more about how to apply for the Carer Allowance here

3. Carer Supplement 

The Carer Supplement is an annual lump-sum payment up to $600 designed to reimburse carers for the extra costs they might have incurred through caring for someone. This payment will be made to you automatically if you already get Carer Allowance, Carer Payment, or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Carer Service Pension. This supplement aims to provide financial assistance beyond regular payments to help alleviate the financial strain that caring responsibilities can entail. You can learn more about the Carer Supplement here

Help in the Home

Many ageing parents express their wishes to remain in their home for as long as possible, and there is subsidised practical support for those caring for elderly parents at home. 

Home care packages funded by the government provide a range of services tailored to each individual’s needs, including assistance with daily activities such as bathing, meal preparation, and medication management. These packages aim to promote independence and enable elderly parents to continue living in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.

Depending on your parent’s care needs, you can access services through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme or a Home Care Package. An assessment process determines what program is more suitable. 

​​The Australian Government subsidises the cost of home support services. What your parent needs to pay depends on the services they access and, in some cases, their financial situation.

You can see a full list of services, find out what assistance is available, and learn more about assessments on the My Aged Care website

Non-government help

Outside of the government services that support elderly care for parents, there are also a range of community care services that offer practical assistance such as domestic help, transportation to medical appointments, and social outings. These services not only alleviate the burden on the caregivers, but also enhance the quality of life for ageing parents by enabling them to remain active and engaged within their communities.

These social types of support can be a lifeline for people, as 45% of people over the age of 65 report feeling lonely. Another way to help alleviate loneliness is to try Respite or permanent Aged Care. 

Respite Care

Caring for elderly parents can be emotionally and physically demanding, and it’s essential for carers to prioritise their own wellbeing to avoid burnout. Respite Care services offer temporary relief for carers by providing short-term care for ageing parents, allowing you to take a break and attend to your own needs.

Respite Care can be in-home, where a qualified caregiver visits the home to provide care, or in a Residential Aged Care setting, where your parent stays for a short period, with the social aspect of meeting new people, and also having around-the-clock medical care if they need it. 

Another benefit of Respite Care is that it can provide a ‘try-before-you-buy’ approach to Permanent Aged Care. It’s a way to try it out and see if the residence is a good fit and, if not, to try others. 

Man with Carer

Permanent Aged Care

In many cases, the level of care required can get to the point where it is too much for adult children or other caregivers, who may have families of their own, or perhaps they lack the medical training to be able to cope with the health issues that are arising. 

At TriCare, each residence has a dedicated team of Registered Nurses, qualified Carers, Lifestyle Coordinator,s and a professional Chef – expertly managed by our Facility and Clinical Managers. Our teams have the experience to support from low care to complex needs, and from Respite Care to Secure Dementia and Palliative Care.

Residents also have access to physiotherapy, podiatry, diversional, occupational speech therapies, GP, and other services like dietary, beauty, and wellness to feel and look their best.

All of our residences provide safe and home-like environments for seniors who need clinical and social care, assistance with personal tasks and medication management. They are designed to help residents feel at home, enjoy their hobbies, and be as independent as possible.

Navigating the transition to Permanent Aged Care can be challenging, both emotionally and logistically, but TriCare Aged Care aged care experts are available to help talk you through the process, including arranging an ACAT assessment, and answer any questions you may have. 

You can speak directly with an Aged Care Specialist by calling 1300 874 2273.