Planning and taking control of how you live during the later years of your life should be among your most important personal and financial priorities. Whether your preference is to remain living at home or moving into an aged care residential facility, it’s vital to plan ahead and take into account your values, what you need and your preferences. Without planning you could find yourself with limited care options or financially disadvantaged.
“Throughout our lives we have the privilege to make choices about our living arrangements. This needs to continue into our twilight years. Throughout the planning process it is vital we are provided with up-to-date information and the financial implications. From there it becomes easier and clearer on the steps to implement our choices.
Knowing our rights, which always include independence, participation, care, self fulfillment and dignity, is important. It’s all about our values, needs and preferences.” Mary Ellen Kelly
Aged care facts you need to know
Australia’s demographic landscape is changing, further highlighting the importance of planning ahead for aged care options.
Life expectancy continues to increase and the number of people over 65 is forecast to double in the next 40 years which will likely create increased pressure on available aged care resources.
For regional and rural families, that pressure is even greater as there are considerably less aged care options available compared to our counterparts in the city.
Key considerations for aged care planning:
#1: Understand your choices
Many people will reach a point where they may struggle to live independently at home as they age and will need to consider help at home or alternate living arrangements.
Your options may include in-home assistance, such as limited services through personal care services transport or help with meals, through to higher level needs such as clinical support, provided through Commonwealth Home Support Program or Home Care Packages.
Residential Respite Care is encouraged for short term assistance if there has been a medical event and you need 24-hour care. When being assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team ensure that respite is included in the options.
Residential aged care offers a range of care options and accommodation on a permanent basis for seniors unable to continue living independently in their own home.
Aged care assessments are organised through My Aged Care and carried out by ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team). Service options are outlined on www.myagedcare.gov.au or ring 1800 200 422.
#2: Understand there are considerable financial implications associated with aged care planning
There are many financial complexities associated with aged care planning and every family’s situation will be different. Added to this, regulations are changing frequently to address concerns raised in the Royal Commission into Aged Care.
We can help you, and those supporting you, which may include your Power of Attorney, to understand the choices available to you and the financial requirements involved.
This may include helping you to manage your investments and savings so you may meet your aged care residential accommodation costs including Residential Accommodation Deposits (RAD) and Daily Accommodation Payments (DAP) for your day to day living expenses. We can also help you structure your accommodation payments and understand the refund implications for estate and succession outcomes.
In additional to emotional stress, failing to plan appropriately can result in eroding your retirement savings or adversely affecting your succession plan and/or provisions you may have made for family members.
#3: Put a plan in place
While 65 may feel a bit ‘young’ to be thinking about aged care, there are plenty of compelling reasons for getting organised well before you need these services.
All too often people engage in the system after a major health incident. This often results in the immediate decisions around care, and often those circumstances can mean choices are taken out of your control and made by others.
Occupancy rates for residential aged care facilities can be high, and South Australia has the highest proportion of residents in aged care than any other state. With limited places available at any given time, a facility that is most suited to your needs and care levels may not be available.
We recommend registering with My Aged Care early, either via the website or by ringing 1800 200 422 and requesting a health assessment with an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). There can be lengthy waiting times for an assessment which needs to occur prior to accessing aged care services.
|Our friend and client, Retired Regional Aged Care Supervisor, Mary Ellen Kelly, offers some sage advice. Mary Ellen worked in the aged care sector in rural South Australia for over 25 years and knows the importance of planning ahead and understanding your options. “While we never like to think about ageing or ill health, things can change quickly. I strongly recommend you put plenty of thought to your future… If your plans are to stay living in your home, start the process by arranging an assessment. I also suggest identifying aged care residential facilities within your region and accessing information on the specific care home prior to documenting your preferred choices of where you would like to live and receive care. Be proactive and investigate your options”|
If you would like to know more about aged care planning for farming business owners, I invite you to contact me today on 08 8253 2906 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phillip Dibben is a financial adviser at Active Financial Management. Active Financial Management and its advisers are Authorised Representatives of Fortnum Private Wealth Ltd ABN 54 139 889 535 AFSL 357306 trading as Fortnum Financial Advisers.
This information does not consider your personal circumstances (including taxation) and is of a general nature only. You should not act on the information provided without first obtaining advice specific to your circumstances.