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aged couple PNG Because the care needs of older Australians vary, aged care options must be flexible. The Australian aged care system provides a range of care options including community aged care and residential aged care. Often the cycle of care begins with low-level community care in the home before progressing to high-level care. A person may then continue into a residential aged care facility (formerly known as nursing homes) for low-level or high-level care, usually as a permanent resident. Respite care in a residential aged care facility may be a step along the way to permanent care.

Three types of community aged care provide alternatives to residential aged care offering both low- and high-level care options for those who need support to remain in the community:

  • Community Aged Care Packages (CACP) offer low-level care within a person’s home for those who require basic support and assistance with activities of daily living.
  • Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages offer a higher level of care than CACP.
  • Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) packages cater for those with more complex care needs.

Two types of residential aged care provide care within an accommodation setting for those whose care needs can no longer be met within their own homes:

  • Respite care offers temporary or casual residential care to support both older people and their carers.
  • Permanent care offers low- or high-level care, depending on an individual’s needs, in residential aged care accommodation, once a person can no longer manage to live at home.

Efforts are being made to raise awareness of diversity in older Australians who are at risk of being marginalised and possibly encountering difficulties accessing appropriate aged care services.

More detailed information about Australia's aged care system: