Helpful Information

Rest Home and Hospital Care

For some people, living in their own home is no longer an option and residential aged care needs to be considered. Moving into a residential care home can provide a positive change giving the care and support you need while freeing you from the responsibilities of owning and maintaining your own home. To ensure the move is the right one planning ahead is essential to ensuring that you and your family make the best choice in what can be difficult circumstances. The following list provides some guidance on the steps to be undertaken when moving to residential aged care.


1. Get a Needs Assessment

A needs assessment is strongly recommended and is essential if you wish to apply for a Residential Care Subsidy. A needs assessment will look at your health and support needs and determine if these needs should be met through residential care and at what level.

Needs assessments are undertaken through the Needs Assessment Co-ordination Service (NASC). You NASC is contracted to your local District Health Board (DHB) and can be contacted by ringing your local DHB or the NASC direct (check the Ministry of Health website for details).


2. Apply for a Residential Care Subsidy

A Government subsidy is available for residential aged care which may cover all or some of the cost of care. To apply for a subsidy complete a Residential Care Subsidy Application and send to Work and Income NZ (WINZ). These forms are available from your local NASC or direct from WINZ. A financial means assessment is undertaken which looks at an individuals assets, liabilities and income and determines if a subsidy is available and how much. WINZ will notify you of how much subsidy is available and how much needs to be funded by the individual (including a contribution from your superannuation).

Note that the application form needs to be completed as soon as possible as any subsidy granted can only be back dated for 90 days. Any costs outside the 90 day period will need to be funded by the individual.


3. Compile a list of homes to visit

Make a list of homes you would like to visit. Homes are listed in a number of places including:

• The Ministry of Health’s website (
• Eldernet’s website (
• The Yellow Pages
• Through your local Age Concern


4. Prepare a list of questions

Prepare a list of questions before visiting the homes you have selected. This will ensure you get all the information you need and will make comparing the homes easier. Consider the physical environment, room sizes, activities available, the food service. Speak to residents and get their view on the home. Also get from the facility manager a copy of their information pack which you can take away and review.

A useful checklist is available free from


5. Admission Agreement

When you have decided on which home you prefer, ask for a copy of their admission agreement. This is the contract between the resident and the home and sets out the legal responsibilities of both parties. Get someone else to review the agreement as well. If there is something in the agreement that you are not comfortable with speak to the home manager.

Note that some services provided by the home may not be covered by the DHB contract and an extra fee needs to be paid by the resident. The admission agreement will identify these services. A resident can choose whether to receive these services.


Independent Living Units


Moving to an Independent Living Unit, or Village Unit, may provide a better lifestyle choice than living in your own home. They provide a private, safe environment with support and activities available while removing the worries of maintaining your own home. Retirement Villages provide a variety of accommodation sizes and styles and different recreation facilities. Choosing a village unit is very much a personal choice but below are a number of steps to consider.


1. Compile a list of villages to visit

Make a list of villages you could live in and suit your requirements (size, facilities, location). Villages are listed in a number of places including:

• The Retirement Villages Association (
• Eldernet’s website (
• The Yellow Pages
• Trade Me (under Real Estate, Retirement Village)

Check that the village is registered (go to the Companies Office website – and look under other registers). Registration provides certain safeguards for residents and ensures there is a Statutory Supervisor, an independent advocate for the village residents.


2. Visit the village

Visit the village and look at the units for sale and the facilities available. Ask for an information pack. This should include:

• A blank Occupation Agreement which gives the resident a right to occupy the unit
• The Disclosure Statement which provides information about the village operator, resident rights, services available and details of entry and ongoing payments
• The Code of Resident Rights
• The Retirement Villages Code of Practice

Ensure you understand these documents and the responsibilities of both parties. Ask someone to review the documents and ask the village manager if there is any aspect you don’t understand.


3. Sign an application and pay a deposit

When you have decided on a village, sign an application form and pay a deposit. This is paid to the Statutory Supervisor and is held in trust by them until the unit has settled. If the settlement doesn’t happen the deposit is refunded.


4. Sign an Occupation Right Agreement

An Occupation Right Agreement is signed for the unit. It is requirement that legal advice is taken before the agreement is signed. A lawyer must sign a certificate confirming that they have explained the content of the agreement to the prospective resident.

As part of the application process a GP needs to confirm to the village manager that the prospective resident is capable of living independently.


5. Take ownership of the unit

Once the agreement has been signed there is a 15 working day cooling off period before the resident can move in. This gives the resident time to think about their decision. The agreement can be terminated during this period.


Useful Links

Ministry of Health

The Ministry of Health oversees the quality processes for aged residential care.   Accessing this site will give you their most up to date information and some additional useful web links to other sites. It also gives information on income and asset testing for residential care subsidy.


Steps to take when considering residential care

This site has a booklet with detailed information what steps to follow when looking at residential care.


Needs Assessment

To apply for a residential care subsidy you will first need to have a needs assessment with a registered needs assessment agency.  The full list of who these agencies are and how to contact them can be found at.


Care Home Audit Reports

Access the most recent care home audit reports (undertaken by independent audit agencies).


Residential Care Subsidy

This site contains details of who is eligible for a subsidy and the application process


Residential Care Loan Scheme

This site gives information for people whose assets are over the relevant asset threshold and who own a home that can apply for a residential care loan to pay for their residential care costs.


New Zealand Aged Care Association

New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA), is a not-for-profit, national membership organisation which represents all parts of the aged-care residential sector.



Eldernet provides you with access to a range of information such as current aged care vacancies.


Retirement Villages Association

The Retirement Villages Association is  voluntary membership association promoting and supporting retirement village operators and the services they provide.