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How to start the conversation about aged care

Have you spoken to your ageing loved ones about their plans? When is it time to talk about aged care? How can you start the conversation? What do you need to talk about? Find out the answers here.

 

Don’t leave it too late to have an honest conversation about aged care options with your loved ones.

 

Research from McCrindle shows that three in 10 Australians have been involved in organising care for a parent, but often are forced to make decisions quickly and with limited information. Most often the process begins as a result of sudden illness or injury, and consequently, two in five people aren’t able to spend more than a month exploring care options.[1]

This isn’t helped by the fact that three in four older Australians haven’t taken any steps to ensure they’ll receive the kind of care they want. The onus is on all of us to start the conversation early and make sure all voices are heard, so there are no unpleasant surprises down the line.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to have a conversation about aged care with your loved ones.

 

If you would like to discuss your options and how you might manage it from a financial perspective, please get in touch.

 

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Aged care conversations aren’t easy – but they’re better handled sooner rather than later.

 

1. When is it time to talk about aged care?

The sooner, the better. As mentioned above, aged care conversations are too often instigated by sudden health events. Consequently, Australians are having to make decisions on behalf of their parents, under a lot of pressure and in limited time.

Of the people who have organised care for a parent, 77 per cent found the process stressful, 22 per cent didn’t feel informed about the options available and 43 per cent felt pressured throughout the decision-making process. As a result, one in four would now change their decision if they could.[2]

Taking the time to have an honest, open discussion about the needs and expectations of your loved one’s care later in life, helps to prepare everyone involved and ensure decisions are made with clarity and respect to the whole family’s feelings.

So don’t wait until the talk seems “necessary” – start communicating about aged care as soon as possible.

 

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How can you make the aged care conversation comfortable for everyone?

 

2. How can you start the aged care conversation?

All this said we can’t deny that talking about aged care can be scary for both you and your loved ones. These conversations often represent a shift in the dynamic of a relationship with a parent or older relative, which can feel confronting. Likewise, they often revolve around the topic of losing independence, which many people may be uncomfortable thinking about.

 

Naturally, then, it’s hard to get the conversation started. However, once you’ve all talked and developed a plan, everyone can move forward with confidence, no matter what the future may bring.

 

If you need help broaching the topic with your ageing relative, take some time to put yourself in their shoes. How would they like to have the conversation? They’ll probably want to feel they are as in-control as possible. So, when planning to start the conversation, think about:

  • Where will they be most comfortable?
  • Would they like you to lead the conversation, or would they prefer to take charge?
  • Who needs to be involved in the conversation?
  • How can you warn them you’d like to talk about this, so they don’t feel ambushed?

Note that the conversation may need to be tackled in parts, to avoid overwhelming anyone. It’s a good idea to set smaller goals for each part of the conversation and be prepared to put a pause on things if anyone needs to stop.

 

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How can you support your loved ones’ wishes?

 

When you’ve planted the seed, it may help to sit down with Invest Blue’s Aged Care Conversations Worksheet. The Worksheet provides an outline for the different aspects you’ll need to cover, some leading questions to shape the conversation and tips to keep in mind when discussing.

 

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3. What do you need to talk about?

Aged care is a larger topic than it might seem at first. Since it concerns the overall living situation of your loved one, as well as potential unknowns for the future, there’s a lot to be discussed. Subjects include:

  • Living situation: Where will your loved one live? A massive 87 per cent of Australians want to live in their own home in their old age. It’s important to discuss what your loved one wants and what needs to be done to ensure that’s possible. Sometimes their expectations might differ from your own – such as if they hope to move in with a family member.[3]
  • Care: How involved would your loved one like to be in decisions about potential treatments? If they’re unable to give input due to their health, who would they like to defer to? What should you know about their preferences?
  • Finances: Whether receiving in-home care or moving to a residential facility, there are costs to be considered. Two-thirds of older Australians expect their aged care to cost $400 per week or less – but 40 per cent aren’t confident they’ll be able to fund it.[4]

These conversations take time, and can’t always happen without help. If you or your loved ones have any uncertainty around care later in life, it helps to speak to a financial planner. At times when emotions run high, the financial planners at Invest Blue can review your options and provide the unity needed to make decisions with clarity and confidence.

 

Get in touch with us today for more guidance in your conversations about aged care or Book an Appointment with an Advisor.

What you need to know

This information is provided by Invest Blue Pty Ltd (ABN 91 100 874 744). The information contained in this article is of general nature only and does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. Therefore, before making any decision, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice with regards to those matters and seek personal financial, tax and/or legal advice prior to acting on this information. Read our Financial Services Guide for information about our services, including the fees and other benefits that AMP companies and their representatives may receive in relations to products and services provided to you.

[1-4] https://mccrindle.com.au/insights/blog/older-australians-not-prepared-for-their-future-age-care/