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Aged Care: What Are My Options?

Written by Catherine Micallef


As we or our loved ones grow older, there may come a time when additional care and support are needed. In Australia, aged care services offer a range of options to cater to the specific needs of seniors. Understanding the available types of accommodation, services, and payment models is essential when considering aged care options.


Types of Accommodation, Services, and Facilities

Aged care facilities provide a variety of accommodation options to suit different needs. The three main types of aged care accommodation are:

  1. Residential Aged Care: Residential aged care facilities, commonly known as nursing homes or aged care homes, provide 24 hour care for individuals who require assistance with daily activities or have complex medical needs. These facilities offer private or shared rooms and various amenities such as dining areas, communal spaces, and gardens.

  2. Retirement Villages: Retirement villages offer independent living units or apartments specifically designed for seniors who can live independently but want access to additional amenities and support services. These villages often provide recreational facilities, social activities, and communal spaces to foster a sense of community.

  3. Home Care: Home care services enable older individuals to receive care and support in their own homes. This option allows seniors to maintain their independence while receiving assistance with daily activities, personal care, and household chores. Home care services can range from basic help with household tasks to more comprehensive medical care.

Each type of accommodation offers unique advantages and considerations, and the choice depends on individual preferences, care needs, and budget.


Purchase Models and Payment Options

When it comes to purchasing aged care accommodation, there are different models available, including:

  1. Rental or Leasehold: Under this model, individuals can rent or lease an aged care unit or apartment within a retirement village. The rental fees cover the accommodation and use of communal facilities, but it's essential to carefully review the lease agreement to understand the terms, conditions, and ongoing costs involved.

  2. Loan Lease Model: Under this model, individuals pay an upfront lump sum, similar to a loan or lease arrangement. The amount paid grants them the right to occupy a particular accommodation unit within an aged care facility or a room within a residential aged care facility for a specified period. At the end of the occupancy, a portion of the initial payment may be refunded.

  3. Purchase: In some cases, individuals can buy their residence within the retirement village, however these purchases are often different from buying ordinary property. Each contract needs to be reviewed as to its own circumstances, however commonly there are rules and restrictions on how the property can be used or sold. Further, there are often renovation, restoration and other fees involved when it comes time to sell the property.

Retirement Village Operators may require residents to pay an upfront payment amount, bond, deposit, or ongoing payments.

  1. RAD (Refundable Accommodation Deposit): RAD involves paying a lump sum upfront to secure a place in a residential aged care facility. The deposit is fully refundable when the individual leaves the facility, minus any agreed deductions or fees.

  2. DAP (Daily Accommodation Payment): DAP is an alternative to RAD, where individuals pay a daily accommodation fee. This fee is calculated based on a percentage of the RAD and is non-refundable.

The leaving process


Accommodation Payments: If a resident has paid a RAD, the facility will refund the deposit within a specified time frame after deducting any agreed-upon fees or charges to the estate of the deceased resident. It's essential to consult the facility's terms and conditions regarding the refund process. No two facilities are alike and some will have higher exit fees and charges than others.


Understanding the options available for aged care is crucial for individuals and their families as they navigate this stage of life. Aged care contracts should be reviewed by a professional to ensure that the rights and obligations are clearly understood from the outset. If you have any specific questions regarding aged care accommodation, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced lawyers.

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