Aged care — more than a nursing home

MARK PLASKITT

Is retirement not far off and you’re making plans for how you’ll take care of yourself or your parents as you/they get older? When weighing up your options for aged care, you need to find the right balance between your needs and financial goals.

What are the options?

In Australia, we’re lucky to have a wide range of aged care homes that cater for most needs. Many retirees choose to move to a care facility to receive extra support as well as for the company of people at the same stage in life.

Aged care facilities are generally equipped to provide you with a high level of services, including laundry, cleaning and meals, plus personal care, nursing and emergency assistance. However, the exact services you’ll receive vary greatly from place to place, and often depend on how much you’re able to pay. An assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) is required which will help you work out what kind of care will best meet your needs.

When choosing an aged care home, make sure you visit or contact the residence and find out whether they offer the kind of care you are looking for:

  • Low care residences: Allow you to maintain your independence while offering some support with day-to-day activities. They generally don’t provide a high level of medical care. These can be a good option if you’re still healthy and active, but would like a bit of extra help and like-minded company.
  • High care residences: Offer around-the-clock assistance with all your daily needs. They also provide additional services such as personal and nursing care, an option well-suited to people finding it difficult to manage on their own, or with medical issues.
How can I keep living at home?

The good news is it’s now easier than ever to keep living at home, thanks to a government-provided home care package. For a basic fee, you can choose from a range of services to help support you in your own home, based on your individual needs. These include:

  • Housework and domestic chores
  • Home maintenance
  • Meal delivery
  • Transport
  • Nursing and personal care
  • Healthpport services.
 
Should I move in with the kids?

Some retirees choose to live with their adult children and their families, as an alternative to living alone or in a nursing home. When deciding whether it’s the right option for you, you need to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of a multi-generational household.

  • Pros: If you’re feeling lonely in your empty nest, then living with family will provide you with companionship and activity. It will probably also take the strain out of your finances by allowing you to sell up or rent out your own home. Plus, you have the added security of knowing help is at hand should you need it.
  • Cons: Once you’re used to living alone, giving up your privacy in a busy household may not be easy. It’s also worth considering whether your son or daughter’s family home is suited to your comfort and needs. Remember that your children may not be able to provide the same level of care as a trained professional, particularly if they’re working.
Seek expert advice

Age care can be a complex area, particularly when it comes to money. Different age care centres offer different services and payment structures, so it’s important to get the right advice.

Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information.

________________________________________________________________________Mark Plaskitt is Senior Financial Adviser at MLC Advice Pennant Hills and an Authorised Representative GWM Adviser Services Limited and a member of the National Australia group of companies.  

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