Navigating aged care

Understandably, most people want to stay in their own home for as long as possible because it is familiar and comfortable.

The thought of going into an aged care facility is traumatic. If someone you care about is no longer able to manage at home on their own but are fortunate enough to have assistance with everyday tasks such as shopping, cooking and transport to medical appointments they may be able to stay in their home longer. They may even be eligible for Government-subsidised home care.

However, if they are unable to manage, even with some additional assistance or they do not have anyone to provide assisted care in their home, you may need to make the decision to enter them into an aged care facility.

The move to aged care is often rushed and a stressful time, some common concerns are:

  • How to find an appropriate facility for mum or dad
  • Whether to keep or sell the family home
  • What are the upfront costs and how to fund it
  • What are the ongoing costs and ways to minimise fees
  • Means-tested care fee based on residents income and assets
  • Any impact on Centrelink or DVA benefits and how to maximise benefits
  • How to manage cash flow requirements
  • What will be left for the family

Meet Louise…

Louise is an only child and a mother. She is the primary carer for her parents whose health was declining. Louise visited them a couple of times a week, and had organised additional home care services to support her parents, however, with their declining health, her own family and a career, she was finding it increasingly difficult to provide the care they were needing. It was becoming apparent that it would not be long before they would require more care than she could provide.

Louise needed to make some decisions about their ongoing care, which she found overwhelming. She needed some advice so she could identify the key issues and gain some clarity about their options and all the costs involved.

The first issue Louise wanted clarification on was accommodation options. What were they, how could they afford them and what impact did that have their current assets? She made an appointment with a financial adviser who broke it down in to one simple objective – to achieve the best care for her parents without spending more money than necessary.

The financial adviser explained that the issues around assets, income, pension entitlements and the type of care wanted or needed are all interrelated and complex. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution.

Upon the recommendation from her adviser, Louise spoke to the family doctor, the Aged Care Assessment Team, her parents’ solicitor and Centrelink to understand their entire situation. She was overwhelmed with information but her financial adviser was able to help her sort through the complexities.

Together, they developed an aged care plan that enabled her to find suitable accommodation for her parents based on the level of care they needed and budget. He helped her structure her parents’ assets including the family home and investments to benefit from available Centrelink entitlements and create an ongoing income solution.

Louise knew she could not have done this on her own and is in regular contact with her financial adviser who continues to help her monitor her parents’ finances and living arrangements. Louise is confident that should the time come when her parents need a higher level of care, her financial adviser can assist her to make the right decisions.

You may need to seek advice for someone you care about. If you need to make decisions around aged care but are unsure where to start, it may start with a simple conversation with one of our aged care specialists.

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