Summary

  • For older people living at home and people with disabilities; centre-based care, day therapy centres and respite facilities can help you stay independent, active and engaged. Call My Aged Care for information about what is available on 1800 200 422.
  • Day programs and respite care (also known as temporary care or short-term care) for people with disabilities provide a chance to develop skills and to socialise. Call the Department of Health and Human Services Intake and Response Service on 1800 783 783.
  • Make sure you know the fees and charges before signing up for any services.

For people with disabilities and older people living independently at home, there is a range of community support services available. You may have come out of hospital recently or are looking for somewhere to go for daytime activities or support.

Options for respite care (also known as temporary care or short-term care) are available for you and your carer, and daytime services provide opportunities to increase independence and to socialise. 

The kind of care you will need as an older person depends on where you live, what your needs are, what you would like to achieve and your current state of health.  

Centre-based aged care

Centre-based care is care available to older people in a ‘centre’ rather than in their home. This type of care involves a mix of formal and informal activities that encourage healthy ageing, wellbeing and social participation.

Depending on the centre, activities will promote:

  • socialising and having fun

  • exercise programs

  • thinking and exercises for your mind

  • day trips

  • craft

  • cooking to enjoy and share a healthy meal

  • gardening. 

Centre-based care is designed to support you and your carer and also offers a range of meals, day therapy, social support, respite for carers and overnight care.

The fees for centre-based care vary from centre to centre. However, most charge a daily fee that includes transport and snacks. Some charge an extra fee for outings and meals.

Call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to find services in your local area and for more information.

Day therapy centres

Day therapy centres offer therapy services such as physiotherapy and podiatry to older people living in their own homes. These day services help you maintain your independence and mobility (ability to walk and move around) for as long as possible. The centres differ in size and what they offer, but all have the common aim of helping older people to maintain or regain a level of independence. 


Day therapy centres will help you live at home longer by offering services such as:

  • foot care
  • physiotherapy (exercise, mobility, strength and balance)
  • food and nutrition advice
  • occupational therapy (help to recover or maintain your physical ability). 

There may also be group exercises to keep you physically active.

To be eligible, you must be aged 65 years or over (50 or over if you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person) and living in your own home.

You may have to pay a small fee (based on your income and the number of services you need), but if you cannot afford to pay you will still be able to join in. 

Transition care

Transition care is care provided to older people after a hospital stay to help with their transition back to home. It is for people who need more time and support to fully recover, and to decide whether they will return home or move into an aged care setting.

To join the transition care program, you must come straight from hospital and have been assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS). This can be organised through the hospital. It is usually available for eight to 12 weeks, but a six-week extension can be organised if needed. 

The services offered may include therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and podiatry, visits with a social worker, and nursing.

The costs of transition care depend on your financial situation and the kind of help you need. You will be expected to pay something towards the cost of transition care, but you will still be able to get care if you can’t afford it.

Talk with your hospital social worker or ACAS team about how you can get transition care.

Respite care

Respite care is short-term care that gives you and your carer the opportunity to have a break. It may be for a few hours or days, or longer periods. 

Respite services include:

  • in-home care
  • social activities and day outings
  • overnight care 
  • short stays in aged care homes
  • emergency assistance if something happens to you.

The costs of respite care depend on your financial situation and the kind of help you need. You will be expected to pay something towards the cost of respite care, but if you can’t afford it, you will still be able to get care. 

If you need respite care, call your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222.

Support for people with disabilities

A range of out-of-home disability support services are available to people with a disability and their families. These include short-term disability services, such as respite services and day services.

Respite services are designed to support and build your independence, and to give you and your carer a short-term break. The break may be for a day, overnight, for a weekend or longer. Some providers offer school holiday respite programs for children and teenagers. These breaks can be in your home, in someone else’s home or out in the community.

Day services provide activities for groups of people, with the aim to get them out and about, and to socialise with others. Some activities are focused on developing skills, while others are just about having fun. These activities may be provided by a day service provider (either within a place operated by the provider or at other locations in the community), or organised by the day service provider, but taking place somewhere else, such as a local swimming pool.

The Department of Health and Human Service’s Intake and Response Service provides information about supports and services for people with disabilities, their families and carers in their local area. Phone 1800 783 783 or TTY 1800 008 149 for more information.

Where to get help 

  • Your doctor
  • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre call 1800 052 222
  • Intake and Response Service call 1800 783 783 or TTY 1800 008 149

More information

Browse planning and coordinating healthcare topics

The following content is displayed as Tabs. Once you have activated a link navigate to the end of the list to view its associated content. The activated link is defined as Active Tab

Health system explained

Content Partner

This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated: October 2015

Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances. The State of Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website.