We all lead busy lives so juggling family, work and personal responsibilities can be complicated – particularly when people we love need increasing levels of care and support. This article takes a look at what to consider and where to start when you have older parents.
Encouraging older parents to accept help, can be difficult. But when help is accepted, as a member of the “sandwich generation” you may find yourself sandwiched between obligations to help with care of older parents and young grandchildren – and just when you were thinking about your own retirement.
Life might feel a bit overwhelming. Knowing where and how to access support for your parents and yourself may make all the difference.
Helping you – the carer
A good place to start your research is the Carer Gateway (carergateway.gov.au). This website can help you to identify and connect with available support services.
As a carer, your physical and emotional well-being is vital. So don’t feel that you need to do it all and don’t feel guilty about taking some time out for yourself. This is where respite care can step in. Respite provides short-term temporary care when you need some time out for several hours, overnight, days or even weeks.
The government subsidises respite care to make it affordable, but you may first need to arrange an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/ACAS) – so plan ahead.
If your care duties prevent you from being able to work you might qualify for a Carer Payment from Centrelink to provide you with income support. If you are not eligible for this payment, you might be eligible for a Carer Allowance of $131.90 per fortnight to help with some of the costs you are likely to incur.
Helping your parent
Depending on how much help is needed by your parents, you may want to look at support in the home or in residential care. These services may be government-subsidised, with the starting point through MyAgedCare (myagedcare.gov.au).
Home care can help with needs such as house cleaning, personal care (such as bathing), social support and even some home modifications to adapt to your parent’s care needs. Even if your parent is living with you, they may still be eligible for subsidised home care.
Helping to understand the finances
Subsidised care can help to make care more affordable. But be warned, there might be a long wait for a home care package, so don’t wait until the need is urgent before applying. You might also need to find cash flow to contribute towards the cost or fund additional care.
Phillips Wealth Partners have helped many clients to navigate through the aged care system, providing our clients with peace of mind and a clearer direction on the potential options for structuring finances.