E8: Understanding home care with Craig Gear

For most of us, maintaining our independence as we age is a top priority.

Fortunately, there are services that help us do just that, supporting people to stay in their own homes by providing a range of services from garden maintenance to help with showering.

But understanding what is available, and how to navigate home care is a confusing mystery for many of us.

In this episode, Craig Gear, Chief Executive Officer from the Older Person’s Advocacy Network explains the basics of how to access home care and what you can expect.

Craig Gear has a long background in accountancy, health and aged care, and in his early career he worked in the prison system. He’s passionate about improving the system for older people

As Craig Gear says, everyone has the right to independence, to stay in their homes and to get the services they need to support their health and wellbeing.

Homecare is available to people 65 and above, but Indigenous Australians can qualify at 55.

Those at risk of homelessness can qualify earlier.

The Commonwealth Home Support program can help with shopping, home maintenance, cleaning and other services.

Home care packages can provide medical support, showers and nursing care in the residential home.

Most people pay a small amount after a financial assessment by Services Australia (Centrelink), usually a small sum for those on a pension.

Services are provided by an aged care provider. A person visits you at home to do an assessment and with you, forms a plan of what’s needed.

However, sometimes advocacy is needed to provide information, support and to go into bat for people to get a better service.

The Number for the Older Persons Advocacy Network is 1800 700 600. The service offers free, independent and confidential advice for people navigating the system, or running up against difficulties.

You can ring My Aged Care for an assessment as a first step in the process. The number is: 1800 200422.

Your GP or primary health provider can do a health assessment, as part of the process in getting the best support.

Getting assistance in regional Australia can be more of challenge, with less access and less choice. Craig Gear suggests calling The Older Persons Advocacy Network for support.


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