There is no denying that for some of us, it becomes difficult to manage life in our own homes as we age. Whilst it can appear daunting, the transition into Aged Care becomes important at this stage as we will require help and support to ensure quality of life continues. This is a very big decision that has the potential to impact our lifestyle, social security entitlements, finances, and estate planning arrangements.
The transition into Aged Care can be very confusing and a time of great upheaval filled with feelings of fear and grief, especially if we are not prepared for this move. Making reactive decisions following a medical episode or incident can lead to panic, a sense of urgency and choices that can adversely affect the remainder of your life. Furthermore, history shows that it is the family rather than the resident who is often left to make life-changing decisions on behalf of their family member, meaning that your wishes may not be carried out on your behalf.
Where to start:
1: Your Aged Care Options
Firstly, research what Aged Care services are available to you and what your preferences would be, should the time come. For example, Option A may be to stay in your own house but get some help with domestic chores, then Option B long-term residential care close to your children.
2: Eligibility and Funding
Secondly, check what the eligibility requirements are for each of your options (e.g. ACAT assessment) and the financial requirements to gain access.
Alternatively, you may be also be eligible for subsidies depending on your choices, e.g. if you want to stay at your own house, the government can provide you with subsidised home care to help you with daily household tasks such as shopping, cooking, transport, and personal/nursing care.
Please note this can be a very time-consuming process and some services have a waiting list; hence it is advised to plan.
3: The Family Home
Another major factor to consider is what your ideal home would be in your golden years (i.e. keep or sell your family home). It is a great idea to have this decided in advance as you only have 28 days after you move into Aged Care to decide how you want to pay for your accommodation.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you believe that your family home will be unmanageable for you later?
- Would it be better to sell your home or rent it out?
- Would it be better for you to downsize or relocate to prolong your time of ageing at home?
- What events should trigger this decision?
4: Who should help you?
Finally, navigating Aged Care options and their impact on your assets/investments can be extremely complex. Discussing your options and seeking advice from an Accredited Aged Care Financial Adviser will make sure that all factors are taken into consideration and your finances are structured in a manner that does not disadvantage you, your partner or your Estate.
Once you have a Plan in place, decide which members of your family/friends you will discuss your wishes with and also provide them with details of your professional support network (e.g. Financial Adviser, Doctor, Solicitor and Accountant). These will be the people you best trust to carry out your wishes on your behalf if necessary.
Pre-empting possible scenarios and planning for your golden years with an Accredited Aged Care Financial Adviser ensures peace of mind that you remain in control of your future.
Find out more about Aged Care Services at: https://www.myagedcare.gov.au/
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