Christmas can be a stressful and emotional time for many people; in addition to the cooking, presents, and visiting schedules, many people are also faced with the need to look at aged care for themselves or a loved one.
So, if the conversation this Christmas turns to aged care, here are my tips for navigating the maze.
1. Talk about it. Conversations about care can be hard. Maintaining good communication and having a “with you” rather than “to you” attitude can make the transition easier for everyone.
2. Get an ACAT. The first step in accessing a Home Care Package, respite or moving to an aged care facility is to have your care needs assessed by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). It is an easy process, but you can be waiting many weeks, sometimes months, at busy times.
3. Prepare for home care. There’s a range of services to help you stay at home, including the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, Home Care Packages, DVA services and private care services. It can be a juggle and there can long waiting times, it pays to plan ahead.
4. Have a break. Respite in an aged care facility can give carers a much-needed break. It is also a great way for you to “try before you buy”.
5. Do the downsize. Retirement villages and land lease communities are becoming a popular choice for people who need some care because they provide the independence to do what you can for yourself with care and support for things that you can’t (or don’t want to) do.
6. Research your options. If you are considering downsizing to a Retirement Village or Land Lease Community you need to do your research, take a tour, join in an activity or attend an open day.
7. Pension changes. If you receive a pension, make sure you understand the impact of your move on your pension and other entitlements such as rent assistance and concession cards.
8. Timing. If you are a member of a couple, then timing your move into aged care can make a significant difference to your cost of aged care. Be sure to understand the impact of moving together or separately (even a day apart).
9. Know the rights and wrongs of granny flats. Family looking after family is not a new concept, but such arrangements can have serious implications on your pension, tax, ability to fund care and estate planning. It may seem strange to have a formal agreement with family, but you should.
10. Have a trusted Attorney. An Enduring Power of Attorney enables a trusted person, rather than a tribunal or a court, to make decisions for you when you cannot. Make sure you have one.
11. Estate plan. A good estate plan is more than “just a will” – it considers assets that will be part of the estate and those that will not and provides a clear document of your wishes.
12. Get advice. Crunching all the numbers can be complex. Seeking advice from a Retirement Living and Aged Care Specialist® will ensure that you understand the options available, strategies to make it more affordable and there are no nasty surprises down the track.
2021 has been a year of extraordinary year full of change, challenges and disconnect. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our clients for their loyalty and support. Please note our office will be closing on Friday 24 December and re-opening on Monday 10 January 2022.
If you would like to discuss aged care payment options and how to ensure you find the right residential care at a cost you or your loved one can afford, give us a call.
What you need to know
This information is provided by Invest Blue Limited (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.
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