Client Story – How simplifying the Aged Care process gave the Smith family peace of mind
December 8th 2023
About two years ago Steve Smith was faced with the daunting task of moving his parents into an aged care facility, a prospect many of us will face at some stage. In the lead up to the move, Steve was feeling overwhelmed by the volume of paperwork and differing advice he was receiving. He turned to his friend and fellow Anna Bay resident, Josh Cameron for help. Josh, a financial planner with Invest Blue knew just the person for the job – his colleague, Brisbane–based, Shaun Akroyd. Here, Steve explains how Shaun’s expertise in the aged care sector impacted both the quality and cost of the facility his parents moved into.
Steve Smith (59) calls Anna Bay home. Anna Bay is a gorgeous beachside village in the NSW region of Port Stephens. Having retired about 18 months ago, he’s enjoying traveling and working on the home he shares with wife Pamela. He also likes to tinker on motor vehicles and is a fan of motor racing – a passion he shares with his mate Josh. Along with a few fellow ‘revheads,’ the lads head to Bathurst every year for the big race.
Steve feels very grateful to have Josh in his corner.
“Josh is one of the nicest guys in the world. He’s so genuine and caring. He goes out of his way to help anyone and everyone. When we’ve been out socially, he’s always willing to take a work call and assist a client with an issue. I respect his industry expertise and it’s clear that he’s always willing his share that knowledge.”
“In talking to Josh over the years I’ve only ever heard the most positive things about the company. I can see there’s a real team mentality and a great rapport between colleagues. I’m really impressed with the diversity of their expertise,”
Until Shaun Akroyd stepped in, Steve felt like he was going in circles. Additionally, it was all very time-consuming. His parents and siblings are based on the NSW South Coast and Steve and Pamela were driving over four hours each way whenever they needed to complete and review forms.
“It’s a complicated process trying to understand what you have to pay for. We were told differing info relating to RAD costs (refund accommodatable deposits) and the aged care facility were unable to provide any insight. I called Services NSW and Centrelink and kept receiving contradictory information. I was thinking ‘this is a nightmare. I don’t understand some of the things I’m being asked.’ That was when I turned to Josh who brought Shaun into the loop,” Steve explains.
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One of the biggest issues for Steve was misinformation. “Shaun reassured us that if one of my parents was being fully funded then there was no need for the other to also be fully funded. And so despite being told otherwise by a government agency, Shaun encouraged me to phone them back. Shaun was on holidays at the time but was still more than happy to help. I called the agency back and spoke with someone more cluey who confirmed that Shaun was indeed correct.”
Steve acknowledges that without Shaun’s guidance, the outcome would have been vastly different for his parents, Carol and Barry.
‘We probably would’ve paid twice what we needed to and when you’re talking about several hundred thousand dollars, that’s huge. Without Shaun’s help Mum and Dad would probably be somewhere of far lesser quality and possibly sharing a room with strangers. We’re aware of others who do so when there are financial limitations.”
Shaun’s familiarity with the countless rules and regulations of the aged care sector was invaluable and Steve feels extremely fortunate to have had access, via Shaun, to the correct information. “I’d hate to think how many people out there are paying more money than they need to especially with some of the older people who can’t afford to do so. It’s made a massive difference to us.”
Sadly, Steve did not have time on his side with his mum’s dementia resulting in a significant decline in her health and independent living becoming proving more challenging every day. About 12 months ago Steve’s parents (aged 80 and 86) settled into a wonderful facility in their local area where Steve’s siblings are close at hand.
“There are eight rooms per cottage, freshly cooked meals and the place is immaculate and beautifully kept. We know we’ve got Mum and Dad in the best place. I don’t think there’s a better facility out there.”
Steve also has peace of mind about Carol and Barry’s financial future with funds to support them for another 10 to 15 years. And with Josh to guide him, Steve’s finances are in great hands, too. Although recently retired, Steve still receives a military pension from his years in the air force. “Josh has been amazing and is so knowledgeable. He guides us with our super and other matters, and we know we’re well looked after. In fact, I readily send friends and family to Josh and Invest Blue and we all agree that we’re getting the best advice around.”
Steve adds, “Friends tell me what a difference being with Invest Blue has made and how much money they’ve saved as a result of the advice they’ve been given. I look at how well everyone is looked after by different team members, and it speaks volumes. In my view, it must be a great company who really their value their employees because everyone is willing to go the extra mile.”
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