*Sponsored by IRT
From February 27, older Australians will have greater choice and control over their government-funded support. It's called Consumer Directed Care.
The government began rolling out CDC in 2015. It's designed to empower older Australians by allocating funds directly to customers, rather than providers, as was previously done.
This means that customers can choose which providers they want to spend their funding with, and what services they want.
However, Home Care Package provider IRT at Home says many older people don't know what funding support they're entitled to and may be afraid to ask for different services.
"It's a myth that government funding is only available for personal care and household cleaning," said IRT at Home CEO, Gy Wallace.
"Older Australians can access support for a variety of activities that will help them feel well for longer."
One of IRT at Home's customers, Jeannie is supported to take a dip three times at week.
"She's battling some ongoing health problems and swimming helps to rebuild her muscle strength. It's also great for her mental and emotional health," explains Mr Wallace.
Jeannie says that getting down to the water each week is absolute magic.
"The energy you get out of the water is amazing! I meet people down there I haven’t seen in ages, as well as new people. We have a ball and get on so well together,” Jeannie said.
IRT at Home says working with your home care provider to ensure they understand your goals is essential for CDC to succeed.
For Jeannie, it's about rebuilding her strength to become more independent.
"I want to be more mobile in the water. I want to get back in my kayak and learn to drive with hand controls so I take myself to some lovely arts groups I want to go to.
“That’s my goal," she said.
It's so rewarding for IRT at Home to enable people like Jeannie to achieve their goals.
Unfortunately not all providers have embraced CDC in home care.
Recent research commissioned by the Department of Health found that customers with Level one and two packages, which provide the lowest level of support, weren't benefiting from CDC as much as they should.
Limited contact with a case manager is a key issue, as well as a lack of additional services to choose from and a reluctance by older Australians to ask for changes to their service agreement.
"My message to these customers is don't be afraid to ask for help to achieve your goals," Mr Wallace says.
"Ask the Department of Health what funding you're entitled too through CDC and challenge your provider to offer you different, more flexible services. If they can't or won't meet your needs, find another provider who will."
Mr Wallace says that's the beauty of CDC.
"The power is well and truly in your hands, so don't be afraid to use it!"
Give IRT at Home a call on 1800 024 915. They can tell you more about their approach to CDC and hear your goals for feeling well and living independently at home for longer.
*Sponsored by IRT