It’s a good idea to start exploring and discussing aged care options with your loved one well ahead of time.
Deciding when to move into aged care can often be a difficult decision and it’s not something most of us want to think about or face.
Unfortunately however most of us will face it at some time and it’s a good idea to start researching and discussing aged care options ahead of time so you can find a care home that’s right for you or for your loved one.
General manager at Bupa Aged Care Sutherland, Gail Worthington-Eyre, says exploring aged care is a lot like buying a new house – you need to take your time and look around at your options because no one aged care home is the same.
"When you have time to view homes and speak to people you can get a real sense of comfort about moving into a home. It’s a good idea to do the same when choosing an aged care home.
"In addition, getting your name on waiting lists is important, when left to the last minute this is usually a traumatic time in people’s lives and in these circumstance decisions are often made based on availability and not on what is needed to maintain one’s life and lifestyle."
How much you pay for aged care is decided by the government on a case by case basis depending on what you can afford (means tested). The government's My Aged Care
website outlines how aged care fees work and can also show you what you might pay.
Michelle Smith, a financial advice leader at Mercer, says "At the high end, the cost to care for someone in a residential facility can be as high as $255 per day ($93,140 per year) plus the cost of amenities. However, the government asks clients to pay what they can afford and then picks up the bill for the gap, in accordance with a means tested formula."
Smith also says the fee structure and paperwork can be time consuming and confusing. Which is why it’s a good idea to do a bit of research and seek some independent advice well ahead of time.
"Clients hear a lot about the high cost of care, but are not sure what this means or whether they can afford the fees," Smith says.
If a loved one is growing older, now is the time to start planning for their future. Don’t leave it until you’re in crisis mode as you may end up settling for what’s available instead of what’s the best option for your loved one.