When considering in-home care vs other aged care options, it is important to understand your (or your loved one's) current situation, personal goals, individual care needs - in addition to understanding how much money you will need. You can then select the best care option for your (or their) individual circumstances.

Aged Care is not a one size fits all model. In fact, the recent Aged Care Reforms cater to the individual needs of the consumer to ensure that they are able to exercise their choice in ageing. So, what is the difference between the different types of services and what will suit your situation best?

Danielle Robertson is the CEO of DRC Care Solutions and she is also an experienced care consultant who has helped many families navigate these complex choices. Danielle explains the options and considerations below:

Residential Care

A Residential Aged Care Facility offers full care services with staff available to provide care to you or your loved one 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There are several residents living together in a facility (some have small numbers of residents and others are larger).

Services include on-call staff for nursing care, physical assistance, meals, basic accommodation-related services such as furnishings, cleaning services and general laundry, bedding, maintenance of buildings and grounds.

Each facility varies in size, service type, specialities, fees and services. You have a choice of rooms, facilities and extra services that you may want (often for an extra cost).

Home Care

Access to care whilst living in your own home is available through funded programs as well as private ‘fee for service’ care providers.

Options can vary from low needs such as companionship, housekeeping, shopping and meal preparation to complex care such as 24 hour live in support and end of life care.

Similar support services can be provided to that of residential care with the key difference being that you are living at home and the level of access to each care type varies. The home could be an apartment / villa in a retirement village, a strata apartment, a townhouse or a stand-alone home.

Both of these options can cater to your individual needs and offer the following:

  • Assessment of needs by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) linked to My Aged Care
  • Funding to support access to care
  • ACAT assessments can generally be undertaken quickly but with HomeCare Packages, the funding can take up to 12 months or longer to be released. With Residential care, you may need to wait for a spot to become available and some waitlists are very long
  • Access to health care professionals
  • Access to assistance with daily tasks, personal care and social engagement
  • Access to assistive technologies and equipment


There are a few key differences including:

Residential Facility:

  • Living in a group home environment with other ageing residents
  • 24-hour on call staff available
  • Limited numbers of beds and potential waitlists in selected areas
  • Support Workers, carers and nurses are set up by the facility


Home Care Services:

  • Living in your own home
  • Specific dates, times and intervals of service at a time of your choosing
  • Some limitations to staff availability with hours, days, times and locations
  • Support Workers and carers, nurses can be personally selected / matched


A few considerations which impact your decision should include:

  • Financial capacity
  • Location (close to family, friends, medical and social activities)
  • Mobility and physical capacity
  • Level of continence / incontinence
  • Language requirements
  • Dietary requirements
  • Religious considerations
  • Cultural and spiritual considerations
  • Level of monitoring e.g. dementia with a tendency to roam
  • Level of care needed and assistance required (cognitive and physical)
  • Complexity of care services needed e.g. May need two carers to transfer, specialised feeding or care, behavioural issues etc
  • Level of access to health care professionals

There are many considerations when deciding what the best aged care option is for you or your loved one.

Residential care and home care are two of the most common options yet there are many new types of care models and facilities facilities emerging in this growing sector, so it pays to seek expert advice.

Danielle says: "At DRC Care Solutions, we see more and more clients remaining at home for much longer with good quality Home Care Providers from 3 hours a week right through to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Government funding is sourced in conjunction with ‘fee for service care’ to get the right amount of assistance for your particular situation. We can tailor the care to suit your needs."

"Many people tend to move into residential care towards the ‘end of life’. Alternatively, if their physical and cognitive impairments diminish or their family situation or financial constraints prevent them from remaining at home, they move into an environment to suit their specific needs."

For assistance in reviewing care or accommodation options for your loved ones; including the need to develop a plan specifically for their needs, wants and wishes, please contact Danielle at DRC Care Solutions for a chat on 0418 737357 or email danielle@daniellerobertson.com.au


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