The goal, for most of us, is to stay at home to lead a healthy, independent and safe life to the end.
When this does not happen, and without a plan, things can get messy and mistakes made.
This article shares four simple steps to prepare you for circumstances where specialist care is needed.
While it is daunting to think about physical and cognitive decline in the latter part of retirement, it is important to plan for this time, especially if you want to make your own choices and maintain independence for as long as possible.
Moving homes is one of the most stressful activities we experience in life. I see every day where transitioning yourself, a parent or loved one into residential aged care is just as demanding on our emotions and relationships.
When it comes to finding the right aged care service, each person’s needs and wishes differ.
It is a deeply personal and individual journey.
Take Mary’s case. Mary is eighty-two. She loves walking her two rescue dogs. She keeps a busy social life and volunteers with several charitable organisations. She lives alone and is the most favoured babysitter to her four energetic grandchildren.
When I met Mary, she was in hospital being treated for a stroke. The stroke impacted her speech and mobility. The hospital made it clear Mary would need ongoing, 24-hour care. At this point, her two daughters, Sally and Joanna, were faced with the agonising task of organising aged care options for Mary once she was discharged from the hospital.
They had no idea where to start or what Mary wanted.
Time is needed to choose the right aged care options. There are multiple factors to consider: level of care, services available, costs, administration, location, culture….the list goes on.
Ironically, finding a suitable hotel which is clean, safe and conveniently located is relatively easy thanks to a myriad of travel websites. We can compare hotel prices, read customer reviews and even check room availability.
On the other hand, in the world of aged care, we do not have this information easily available. There are no real-time consumer web reviews or comprehensive comparison websites to help us make informed decisions. And residential aged care is more than finding the right accommodation – it’s about navigating a complex system.
Therefore, should you find yourself in a situation where home or residential aged care is needed, it pays to plan early and make your own decisions about your future care.
To do this, I recommend completing these four simple steps ahead of time (it is never too early):
Decide where you may want to live if you are no longer able to live independently.
How will you pay for your aged care? Understand the cost of aged care.
Make, or update your will, enduring power of attorney, and if relevant, estate plan.
Identify who will be responsible (when you can’t) for financial and medical decisions and living arrangements. Talk to them so they understand your wishes.
As with Mary’s case, entry to care can be unexpected, quick, confusing and emotionally charged.
Planning well in advance empowers you to make your own decisions about your future care.
Written by Luisa Capezio, Aged Care navigator and director at Phillips Wealth Partners.
It is our job to help individuals and families navigate the aged care system to find the best solution for loved ones who need support to stay at home or are ready to take the next step into residential aged care or retirement living. Contact us on 0422 004 198 or visit www.phillipswp.com.au