Five reasons you should get online

Learning basic internet skills, such as using email, surfing the internet and participating in social media, can provide lots of benefits for your health and wellbeing – without even leaving the house. Here are five reasons you should give it a go:

1. To stay close to family and friends

Using email and social media such as Facebook and Twitter are easy ways to stay connected with family and friends no matter how far away you are. No more waiting for letters and photos to arrive in the mail. With email, messages, photos and videos can be shared instantly, and thanks to technologies like Skype, you can video call your loved ones and catch up face-to-face.

2. To keep mentally active and informed

The internet provides a wealth of information at your fingertips. Keep up-to-date with what’s happening in your community or around the world by reading news and searching the internet. You can also access important information about healthcare, medical issues or financial advice.

3. To relieve social isolation and loneliness

Getting out in the community with likeminded people can be difficult when you get older. Thanks to the internet, there are online groups and forums for almost every topic or interest. With a bit of searching, you can find people who share your interests and communicate with them regularly through online forums.

4. To maintain your independence

You can do almost everything online – from paying bills and transferring money, to ordering groceries, buying products and booking appointments. By going online you can maintain control of your personal finances for longer, and continue to feel independent.

5. To give your family peace of mind

Email and social media make it easy and convenient to check-in regularly or daily with your family to let them know you’re okay. This can give your loved ones peace of mind and help you to continue to live in your own home for longer.

If you’re interested in learning more about using a computer and the internet, KinCare’s Social Connect Programme might be just the thing for you. To find out more about how KinCare can help you use email and social media, enqire now or simply call us on 1300 733 510.

Still a Player

“My violin is my oldest, most cherished possession. A ‘Stradivarius Copy,’ it was given to me by my parents 90 years ago. It’s still wrapped in a silk cloth Dad brought home from France, after the Great War. Nearly every day, I’ll take it out of its case and play. The music uplifts me; keeps me focused. I’ll play for anyone who drops in to visit me and in regular group concerts at St Ives and I know at least 100 songs by heart.

The nuns at the local convent taught me how to play when I was ten. I still have the sheet music for the first piece I learnt: Dvorak’s ‘Humoresque’. But when I turned 13, the convent decided I shouldn’t be near the nuns any more! My next teacher was a brilliant musician; soon I was passing exams certified by London’s Trinity College Of Music.

Sadly, due to the Great Depression, Dad, a top Perth baker, had to close his business and we moved to the countryside. Here I learned to play the banjolin – a cross between a mandolin and a banjo. I’d often perform at local dances and social events. Later I returned to Perth, became a baker and businessmen and raised a family. My violin lay forgotten for nearly 50 years.

Finally when I moved into St Ives about 25 years ago, I rediscovered it; it was like reuniting with an old friend! Now we’re never far apart. When I turned 100 last October we had a big party here and I performed some of my favourites like Louis Armstrong’s ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and Lloyd-Webber’s ‘Music of the Night’. Like all people of my age, some days are better than others, but when I’m playing the violin, I’m immersed in the music and nothing else matters!

Exit fees and what you should know

The Government’s recent Aged Care reforms make it easier for you as a customer to move between providers based on your support needs. But if you are thinking of trying out a new provider, it’s important to now check that they don’t charge any sneaky joining, moving or exit fees.

At KinCare, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to choose the most suitable provider for your needs so we won’t charge you joining, upgrade or exit fees. We focus on delivering a great service and being a provider that you’ll choose to stay with. That’s why we won’t lock you in.

This fee — and the amount charged — is optional for each provider, however there are certain legal requirements providers must follow when disclosing this information to you.

Recent media reports have highlighted cases where home care customers have been charged unexpected or hidden exit fees. We’re here to help you understand what you should be looking out for.

Get out of paying exit fees

Under the new reforms, providers can now charge you a fee if you choose to leave and go to another provider. This is a newly introduced discretionary fee which helps providers to cover the administration costs incurred when transferring you to your new provider.

An exit fee is only payable if it is outlined in your Home Care Agreement. If it is stated in the contract you signed, the specified amount will be deducted from any unused funds you have when you leave your provider. A provider cannot charge you an exit fee if it is not agreed on in your contract, and they cannot introduce this fee after you have signed your agreement.

Not all fees are equal

Exit fees are optional and vary in amount. Some home care providers, like us at KinCare, choose to waive joining, upgrade or exit fees to give you greater choice and flexibility in selecting the right provider. Other providers are reported to be charging as much as $4,000, with the average fee reported to be $417.

Check the fine print

Home care providers are now legally required to publish their maximum exit fee on the government’s My Aged Care website. This is the first time this information has been publicly available. Exit fees must be agreed to in your contract and cannot be higher than the amount published on My Aged Care, or your unspent funds.

What you can do

Regardless of your circumstances, it’s important to find out exactly what your current agreement states. Ask your provider for a copy of your Home Care Agreement and check it carefully for exit fees and the required notice period for leaving a package.

If you receive a letter from your provider asking you to pay an exit fee, refer back to your agreement. If it’s not stated there, don’t pay it.

If you are unsure about the fees you are being asked to pay, speak with your provider.

If you are still not satisfied, lodge a complaint with the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner by visiting www.agedcarecomplaints.gov.au or by calling 1800 550 552.

We can help you

At KinCare, we want to help you to understand the In Home Care changes so you can find the best services and supports for you.

If you could use some in-home support, or you have a friend or family member who does, visit our Aged Care page or call us now on 1300 733 510.

In Home Care Government Changes

As a consumer, you have a choice between which products, services or providers you use. Thankfully, older Australians now have greater freedom than ever before to choose a home care provider and the services received. This is due to the recent Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms, which were brought in by the government on 27th February 2017.

These reforms have been designed to give you far more choice and control over your home care. The new system is more flexible, cost-effective, and fairer but significant reforms like these can cause uncertainty if not explained properly.

Our aim at KinCare is to help you understand these changes that have been brought in, and detail what they mean for you.

If you’d like to talk directly with an expert about aged home care or the recent Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms, please get in touch with KinCare now.

What are the major changes under the home care reforms?

Whatever your needs, the government subsidises the cost of a wide range of clinical care, personal care, and support services to assist with day-to-day living. Before these reforms, home care packages were awarded to approved care providers under an allocation process. So, you didn’t have a real choice over which home care provider would be assigned to you or the level of services you’d receive.

These new reforms have brought in four major changes to home care.

  1. You now have more choice and flexibility. You control the selection of your home care provider, completely replacing the old allocation process. In addition, you now have the flexibility to change your home care provider as your needs or circumstances change.
  2. Home care is now provided in a much fairer way. After a successful application, your Home care package is now assigned based not just on the length of time you’ve waited for care, but also on your individual care needs and personal circumstances. This is the same for everyone, regardless of where you may be located in Australia.
  3. You can now accrue unspent funds that are left over from your package after any expenses and fees have been deducted. This means that if you change home care provider these unspent funds will be transferred to your new one.
  4. There are now potential exit fees to pay home care providers if you decide to change to a new one. This fee is only payable if it has been included in your Home Care Agreement and will be deducted from any unspent funds. However, some home care providers, like us at KinCare, choose to waive this exit fee for our customers.

Thanks to the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms, you are changing home care for the better. Home care providers now respond to your increased control by offering exactly the right care package you require as an individual. That’s why providers with experience and a strong sense of commitment to all their customers are best placed to deliver quality home care services.

What happens to existing home care customers if they switch provider?

If you are happy with your current provider, you are not obligated to change. You will simply continue receiving care and services at your current package level.

But these new reforms give you the power to change your home care provider if you want. Crucially, they allow your package funding to follow you to whichever provider you choose. This means a home care package is yours until you no longer need it. However, if you’re thinking of changing providers, you need to be aware of two factors.

  1. You should find out the amount of your unspent home care fund. This is the remaining fund after all expenses and fees have been paid from your package. The amount left may influence your decision on which care provider to choose, and it’s vital to find out what this may mean for you.
  2. Unlike KinCare, some providers deduct a newly introduced exit fee when you change or leave home care. If it is stated in your Home Care Agreement, they may deduct an exit amount from your unspent home care funds. (A provider’s exit fees must be displayed on the My Aged Care website.) As maximum exit fees have been reported as running as high as $4000, it’s important to find out exactly what your situation is, before you choose another provider.

Will the changes have an impact on new home care customers?

Despite the recent reforms, the home care qualification process and the different levels of care available have remained the same. An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will still assess a person applying for home care. This team will determine whether a person is eligible, and which of the four package levels best meets their care needs. They are:

Level 1 – Basic care needs
Level 2 – Low-level care needs
Level 3 – Intermediate care needs
Level 4 – High-level care needs

The allocation of home care for people will continue to be based on the priority given to their needs by ACAT. This means that those who have waited the longest and are in greatest need of home care assistance will be first in line with providers.

Subsidies for home care will continue to work as they did before. There will still be a rising subsidy amount that’s increased as the package level rises and this will be paid directly to your home care provider. Subsidies received for care are an important part of your payment process. However, you are still expected to contribute towards home care costs, where your personal circumstances allow.

Anyone who has been approved by the Aged Care Assessment Team since July 1st 2016 will have been automatically signed up to this new national queue for home care packages. Anyone who was approved for home care before this date will have to opt in to the queue independently – through the Government website myagedcare.gov.au.

When you reach the top of the queue and a suitable package becomes available, it will be assigned to you through My Aged Care. Once the package has been assigned to you, you can choose the provider that best suits your needs.

Will the changes impact the home care services available to you?

There are a huge number of home care services available, including but not limited to: assistance with personal activities, meal preparation, the use of incontinence aids and appliances, mobility and dexterity issues, transport, skin management, nursing and much more.

As providers face tougher competition in light of the reforms, they have to offer you more. Since home care packages can be tailored to your exact needs, you now have a far greater variety of services available. This will increase the number of home care services each provider has available and improve the overall quality of each service.

A new frontier of home care awaits you

All in all, the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms brought in by the Australian Government are hugely significant for people requiring home care. The reforms have served to benefit you, by handing you total control over your home care provider and the day-to-day services they offer.

Home care providers now have to address this new freedom you have and increase the quality of their services accordingly. While an exit fee is something to be considered for certain providers, KinCare has chosen to waive this for its home care customers and instead focus on delivering an outstanding service.

If you are an elderly person who requires in-home care support, learn more about how KinCare can help you by visiting our Aged Care page.