It is important for families to make early plans with their older loved ones to transition into aged care to reduce stress and make well thought out and cost-effective decisions. It’s an all-too-common story for adult children to be faced with finding appropriate aged care for their mums and dads when the parents themselves are already in need of assistance.
Sometimes discussions can be difficult but the reality in Australia is places in aged care accommodation are not available at the snap of your fingers – there are waiting lists for residential care but also even getting help in your own home.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare calculates that Australians living to their mid to late 80s will experience “frailty years” – on average, three to five years of severe disability.
People approaching retirement should be sitting down with their families and making known what their priorities and preferences are when it comes to their care.
There are also numerous misconceptions about aged care, particularly the cost. It can be expensive, and the system of Refundable Accommodation Deposits (RADS) can be scary for some but by planning properly, and depending on eligibility, you could for example consider renting rather than selling the family home and using the rent to part pay for aged care accommodation.
There is much to consider when planning the transition to aged care but there are some simple steps which could help make the move easier for everyone. These include:
- Maximise choice and avoid rushed decisions.
- Identify who will be responsible on your behalf for your financial, medical and living arrangements.
- Treat aged care accommodation like choosing how you buy a house – where is it located, is it good value, can I afford it?
- Aged care is complicated – consider professional advice.
Moving into aged care can be a major upheaval but it’s important to explore your choices as early as possible and decide what works best for you and your financial position.