Last updated 31 October 2022

For older people who are unable to care for themselves or who need assistance in daily living activities, the option of residential care in an aged-care facility may become necessary. While most of us would prefer to stay in our own home as we age, frailty or other conditions such as dementia, may leave us with little choice but to find assistance and full-time care in residential aged care.

The aged-care system in Australia is primarily regulated by the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) (Aged Care Act) and the associated Aged Care Principles.

The system provides for Commonwealth funding of aged-care places, complemented by some level of ‘user pays’ and a regulatory framework designed to ensure high-quality care for residents by aged-care providers.

People entering care are generally required to contribute to their accommodation and are means tested to ensure they make a reasonable financial contribution to their care. The Commonwealth Government provides additional funding to subsidise aged-care providers for the cost of providing care.