"You need not only awareness and understanding of your options, but it is critical to plan in advance before making such decisions."
Be nice to your kids, they may choose where you live
As we and our loved ones get older, a time will come when we will need to make a decision regarding assistance living (i.e. hostel or nursing home). The costs for such accommodation are increasing and depending on a formal assessment by ACAT (ages care assessment team) these cost could either be an initial lump sum (hostel accommodation) or significant daily costs (nursing home). Hence, you need not only awareness and understanding of your options, but it is critical to plan in advance before making such decisions.
Trends within Australia - Ageing Population
– 72,600 people were in high-level aged care services (Nursing Homes)
– 14,400 people were in low-level care (Hostels)
– 80,000 people were in mixed high/low facilities
* Access Economics, 2001. Population Ageing and the Economy, research paper commissioned by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care, ACT.
**Treasury’s Australia 2050: Future Challenges (2010 Intergenerational Report).
^^ Aged Care Commissioner, 2009.
Productivity Commission Report (released 28 June 2011)
“Over 1 million older Australians receive aged care services. The range and quality of these services have improved over past decades, but more needs to be done. Future challenges include the increasing numbers and expectations of older people, a relative fall in the number of informal carers, and the need for more workers. By 2050, over 3.5 million Australians are expected to use aged care services each year.”
Ages care issues
When faced with making such decisions either for yourself or for loved ones, it is important to plan and consider the following issues;
The five steps to entry into aged care
Step 1 - Assessing eligibility (ACAT)
Step 2 - Finding an aged care home that’s suitable
Step 3 - Work with a specialist adviser to discuss strategies when working out accommodation cost
Step 4 - Applying for entry
Step 5 - Moving into a home
Age care planning is complicated, but essential to achieve the best financial outcome. Things to consider are wide and varied like Centrelink entitlements, funding of the Aged Care costs, protecting assets, should the primary place of residence be retained or sold? All this plus the emotional challenges can take its toll, so again, the better the planning before hand and by following the five step process above, you stand a much better chance in making the twilight years of a loved one as pleasant as possible.
David Hasib is director of Chan & Naylor Financial Planning