GOVERNMENT funding for home care providers in NSW now follows the "consumer", allowing carers and their loved ones more choice when it comes to picking providers.
About 200 carers came to hear about recent changes at the Far North Coast Carers Conference, sponsored by Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre, at the Ballina RSL earlier this month.
Topics included funding and self-management, carers entering the workforce, staying well, mental health and the NDIS, and guardianship.
In a session about aged care reforms, regional assessment service manager Sue McGuigan and carer Chandana De Silva were guest speakers.
Sue talked about the newly introduced My Aged Care, the first point of call for aged care services that offers four levels of home care packages.
"You are in control of designing your package," Sue told carers.
"The package is what you want and what meets your needs.
"If you want to change providers, that process has become simpler."
Sue said the Federal Government expected people to contribute to their care if they were able.
Chandana, aged 85, has been a fulltime carer for four years for his wife, who's aged 83.
Originally from Sri Lanka, the couple now live at Ballina Heights. Chandana had a heart bypass operation, then his wife suffered a stroke and heart attack. He advised carers to shop around the various providers to meet individual needs.
Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre program manager Sandie Downsborough said the conference went "exceptionally well".
"There was a lot of positive feedback," she added.
Sandie said the aim of the conference was to give information on a raft of changes, not only in aged care but about the NDIS which will be rolled out in the northern region in July.
"This was a way of letting people know and giving them the information about how to access aged care services," she said.
"They've got to know what their rights are.
"We deal with a few thousand carers but that's probably a drop in the ocean compared to what's
For more information about the changes to home care, call the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422 Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and Saturday, 10am to 2pm (AEST).
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