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Making an aged care plan

With many retirees already accessing aged care services in Australia and many more to start, aged care is an issue we cannot ignore. And one we should face together, to support our elderly when they need it most.

Planning ahead can help to ready you, or a loved one, for the support they will need in their golden years. With awareness and pre-planning you can maintain control and choice, have access to financial resources and minimise the stress on you and your family. A financial adviser can help you to plan ahead, assess your options, access services, understand fees, structure your finances and manage your estate planning. This can have a considerable impact on your aged care lifestyle.


An alternative to residential aged care

Home care can help you to be independent in your own home for as long as possible. As everyone’s needs and circumstances are different, a range of home care services are available to consider, along with assistance from a financial adviser who can help you work out and government subsidies.


Get planning

There is nothing worse than being forced to make a decision because you have no time to plan or evaluate your options. Planning ahead gives you more time to figure out what your options are, the pros and cons of each and ultimately where you want to end up.

A family planning meeting can get everyone on the same page. Your financial adviser can facilitate this meeting and drive the discussion, to make it easier on you. They will go through the options, discuss your preferences and open the floor up for family members to ask questions, express concerns and help them to understand the role they will play in your aged care.


Assess your options

The two broad options you have are to receive a support care package and remain in your home, or to move to an aged care facility that can provide higher level, and more consistent, care. Support services and aged care homes have come a long way in recent years and what you think you want, may change once you look further into your options. The first step is to organise a free assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/ACAS) who will help you work out what support you may need and if you are eligible for any government assistance.


Access available services

No two services are the same. Particularly if an aged care facility is going to be part of your future plan. Think about what criteria is important to you in a facility. Your list of must-haves may include a location close to your local community or family, amenities and activities to keep you active and stimulated, equipment, staff and services who can attend to your health care needs.

A call to the different services can help you work out exactly what they offer and what they charge.


Fees and payments

How much you have to pay may depend on the service you choose, your assessable assets and your assessable income. There are a range of fees broken down into categories so it’s important to understand what they are, and how they differ in the various facilities.

  • Paying for accommodation – this may be charged as either a lump sum of money to pay for entry into a residential facility known as a refundable accommodation deposit, or as a deferred daily accommodation payment paid in regular intervals.

  • Paying for basic living expenses – food, electricity, cleaning, laundry services and nursing assistance is subsidised by the government. Residents are asked to contribute to the cost through a basic daily care fee plus a means-tested fee for those who have a higher capacity to pay.

  • Luxuries and lifestyle – additional items can be purchased on a user pays basis or in bundled packages as additional service fees.


Getting your finances in order

Getting your finances in order requires some professional know-how. And the earlier you know what you are working towards, what it will cost, and roughly when you will need it will help to put a plan in place that meets your individual requirements.


Your financial adviser can review your full financial situation and provide advice on how to:

·      Make appropriate decisions regarding your aged care

·      Structure assets to pay for accommodation as well as create sufficient cash flow for the future

·      Minimise fees and make the most of any Centrelink benefits

  • Keep an eye out for legislative changes that may affect your plan.


Managing your estate

Dementia is often a leading factor behind the need for aged care services. When the time comes it is much easier for the family to cope, and implement a plan, that has been pre-discussed.


If an enduring power of attorney and guardianship is in place the family can rest easy that they can implement the plan their loved one set out while they were still of sound mind. A qualified financial adviser can work with your solicitor, facilitate family meetings, get a plan in place, all before dementia sets in. This reduces the risk of decisions being forced to be made in times of high stress and emotion.


Did you know?

RI Advice is a sponsor of Probus South Pacific and many of our financial advisers work with their local Probus Clubs, providing information to their members and speaking opportunities at local club events. If you would like to contact your local RI Advice financial adviser to discuss your financial situation, or to invite them to speak at your local Club event, you can contact us on 1800 738 473 and we will put you in touch with your local adviser. All Probus members will receive a 10% discount on financial advice fees. Want to know more? Talk to us today!