The government subsidises aged care by $14 billion a year and frequently changes the rules to manage the costs.
I am qualified as an Accredited Aged Care Professional, because I felt keeping up to speed with all the details was a very important service to be able to offer my clients. One quite common aged care scenario that I have come across is:
Mum, 81, has had a fall, broken her hip, become very frail and needs to go into care. She is still in hospital but will soon be discharged and her family needs to find a place for her. Now.
It can be a very high stress situation and in many cases nothing has ever been discussed in the family before. Even if there have been some discussions, mum or dad have often been very clear that they do not want to go into care.
However, now the children don’t have the time or capacity to fund around-the-clock nursing care, which can cost $300,000 a year or more and residential care is really the only option.
For many this can be quite an overwhelming situation.
There are multiple steps to go through and one of the big steps is how to best arrange the financial side of things. This includes a range of questions to consider such as if your mother is a homeowner will the house be empty afterwards and what can be done about that? Will your mother (friend or relative) be assessed as a low-means resident? Also, how should the aged care home be paid and how do you deal with Centrelink etc.?
There are several traps here. For example, in many cases if one member of a couple goes into care, he or she could be classified as a low-means resident. That has strong advantages and strong disadvantages, but if you are not aware of the consequences, you may be stuck with the wrong assessment.
This is a time in life when financial advice is particularly important, valuable and helpful, especially if it is done quickly, professionally and with a caring understanding of the stressful situation. There is also a lot of other support available. You can find some information on the government website myagedcare.gov.au and also from the admissions officers of the aged care providers.
The experience does not need to be so scary or distressing after all and you can often end up with quite a positive outcome for all concerned.
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