How we started...
For the past 40 years my parents-in-law, Peter and Inese, have lived an active and fulfilled life on a small acreage lot in Far North Queensland. As they became older, it started to become harder for them to manage on their own; with my wife and I living on the Sunshine Coast, and their son living in the United Kingdom, they didn’t have family nearby to support them.
Our journey with the Home Care Package scheme started in 2017. Inese had just had her driver’s licence revoked when her doctor decided she was no longer safe to drive, and Peter was becoming increasingly immobile. It was clear they both required care. We contacted My Aged Care, prepared the application forms, and the local ACAT made time to visit them at their home and conduct individual ACAT assessments. Within a couple of months, ACAT wrote to us to let us know the outcome of their assessment; Peter and Inese would be receiving a Level 1 and Level 2 Home Care Package respectively.
With the Home Care Package now in place, we began to investigate Home Care Providers available in Cairns. The My Aged Care online service finder helped us identify a national provider to fulfil the need for ‘light housework’, as we had already recruited one of Peter and Inese’s neighbours, a stay-at-home mother who got on tremendously well with them, to help around the garden.
When a national organisation provided a quote which amounted to 4 hours per week for Inese (Level 2), and 1.5 hours per week for Peter (Level 1), I was astounded to find that $24,000 per year would only deliver 5.5 hours of care per week at an effective cost of $84 per hour. The neighbour was only charging $30 per hour, $54 per hour less than what we had been quoted.
After a discussion with an aged care advocacy group, I was told about the growing opportunity for people to ‘self-manage’ their home care package. I was referred to a specialist provider who assisted people to self-manage for a much smaller administration cost than our original quote.
More importantly, they allowed Peter and Inese to use their own contractors through online platforms like Mable and Careseekers. We invited the neighbour to join us on the platform and found a second care worker with industry experience who had already been background checked by the platform. This is where I should make mention of the fact that I have been an accountant for the last 35 years, and as a ‘numbers man’ I calculated that I could get 12 hours of care per week, more than double the offer from the national provider.
The benefits didn’t stop there. By self-managing, Peter and Inese were able to see the same carers every week and use people they know and trust. Familiarity is very important to our family as Inese suffers from early stage dementia and she would become agitated if providers were to send somebody different every week. Online platforms make it seamless to manage my workforce every week, and with the support of the self-managed provider, we were spending less than 15 minutes per week maintaining their roster.
Almost two years have now passed and my parents-in-law have since moved to the Sunshine Coast to live closer to our family. ACAT assessments recently upgraded them to a level 3 and level 4 Home Care packages and their needs have become greater. Using the online platform, we have sought new carers locally to support them, who share similar interests and can even speak Italian with Peter.
After being inspired by my parents-in-law’s Home Care journey, I founded Trilogy Care to assist people everywhere in Australia to self-manage their Home Care Package and experience the benefits that my family have received over the past 2 years. My parents-in-law now live happily on the Sunshine Coast, receiving 41 hours of care compared to the average of 24.51 hours from other traditional providers.
1 Based on a study of 18 Home Care providers in my area through myagedcare.gov.au