Why are our loved ones waiting a year for home care?

The latest data on home care packages was released last week and the Federal Government has been quick to point to the figures – which include over 31,000 people approved for home care in the December quarter and over 50,000 home care packages released – as a good news story. 

But the report underlines the real numbers. 

Almost three in ten older Australians are waiting over 12 months to access the highest level four package – just under 28,000 people. Another 28,000 (27 per cent) had been waiting between six and 12 months. 

In total, there are over 104,000 people on the national queue – over half (55 per cent) waiting for level four packages.  

Of these, almost half (46 per cent) are sitting on a lower-level interim package while they wait for a higher package to become available – so they are not receiving the level of care that they need. 

Waiting out the waiting list 

This week we were contacted by a retirement village manager based in Sydney. Her mother was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and was approved for a Level 4 home care package in September last year. In the meantime, she was given a Level 2 package. 

She sent us a letter detailing their experience – you can read it here. 

This is just one story. There are over 100,000 people more on the list. 

Last year the Government converted 6,000 lower-level packages to high care but it made little dent in the waiting list.  

Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt has promised “further action” in the coming months, but we think the situation demands urgent attention now. 

The letter writer tells us she has been in touch with her local member who has promised to raise the issue. 

We would encourage everyone to do the same. If the Government wants us to stay at home as we age, they need to make it happen – without putting people through the ringer to get there. 

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A special thanks to our contributors

Antonia Norris

Researcher and Contributor

Antonia has led the operations and growth of the agedcare101.com.au and villages.com.au within the DCM Group in Australia and New Zealand for several years. This has included the research and creation agedcare101 in 2016, the creation of the DCM Institute and Te Ara Institute, the joint contribution of Care & Living with Mercer (CaLM) and the TV series, The Best 30 Years, screened on NINE nationally.



Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the Villages.com.au 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, villages.com.au 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 villages.com.au, 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.