Step 7.5

What is the process of accepting a place in an aged care home?

Accepting a place in an aged care home

You might be offered a place to an aged care home (nursing home) straight away or a chance to join the waiting list.  What you choose to do will depend on a number of considerations: 

You are under no obligation to accept a place that is offered to you.

Order of preference

Is the home one of your preferred choices?  Or was it a second best option for you?  You might want to wait and see what happens elsewhere.  Ask how long you can have to make up your mind before the place is offered to another person.  


If you need to urgently find a place in an aged care home, you may have to take the best option available to you right away.

If your need is less urgent, you have the option of joining the waiting list of an aged care home (or a number of waiting lists) and hope that a place becomes available for you soon. 

If you need to quickly move to an aged care home directly from hospital, you will be given a higher level of priority than other people on the waiting list.


Is the available place being offered to you, within your budget? If you have been assessed, or expect to be assessed by Centrelink as a low means or fully supported aged care resident, you may have to wait for a place to become available on that basis.

If you are contributing to the costs of your care and accommodation, you could still be offered a place that is too expensive.


If finance is a long term issue for you, you may be able to negotiate something affordable in the short term while you wait for a 'fully supported' place to become free.  This might mean moving in to one room and later having to move to a different room.  

Generally speaking there is nothing to prevent you from discussing a range of different short or long term options on the way to getting the aged care home, features and care you want. 

Remember you can usually negotiate with the home, at least to some extent, around costs, timing and other arrangements.

Keep aged care homes informed about your choice

Once you have accepted a place in a home, it is usually polite to tell the other aged care homes you have applied for that you are no longer looking and can be removed from their waiting list. 

Have a question? Open our discussion forum

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.